ATP World Tour — Finals (Year End Championship)
O2 Arena, London — 3 PM EST (ESPN2)
Novak Djokovic: – 160
Roger Federer: + 130
We love love love Roger today. The last time they squared off in fast conditions, Federer handed Nole a bagel in the first set on his way to 6-0, 7-5 win. The second to the last time, Federer defeated Djokovic in the Wimbledon semis, stunning the defending champ. We think Roger really wants this very badly. Roger is most motivated to claim his record 7th YEC and to be the 1st man to claim 3 straight YEC’s since Ivan Lendl in the mid 80’s.
More on Fed’s week to come, we promise, as the Federer/Del Potro storyline is primed right now, and we haven’t yet given you our thoughts on that and the rest of the week in London, which held a lot of drama. As far as the match, we tell you honestly what we think. We loved Federer yesterday as a dog, and today he is a bigger dog. Not only do we like him winning, but we also think it’s a very good proposition to catch Federer with a + before his name on a court with no wind, where the ball stays low.
Fed is 16-12 in the head to head, and has excelled lately in the h2h with Djokovic because of the tactical decision to step around his backhand in the ad court, foiling Djokovic’s basic strategy and really, the blueprint that most players try to stick to when playing Roger. Federer is very confident on this surface taking the backhand early where he can, and stepping around most everything else.
The last time they played, Federer “converted” something like 30+ backhands to forehands against Djokovic. Since Federer can way more easily dictate off the forehand and stretch the court by going down the line to Djoker’s backhand, the tactic has increased his options dramatically in this particular h2h. We haven’t seen Djokovic work out the reply effectively, and so, considering Fed’s mindset, the court, and his motivation, we would be surprised if he lost.