By Ros Satar
- Rafael Nadal  v David Ferrer  – H2H: 23-6
- Andy Murray  v Stan Wawrinka  – H2H: 8-6
London, UK – The match of the day sees Andy Murray in a straight shootout against Stan Wawrinka for a place in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals semi-finals.
Rafael Nadal  v David Ferrer – H2H: 23-6
It is fair to say that Nadal has been growing with confidence match on match here, and indeed since the start of the autumn swing, and it showed against Andy Murray, as he put the Brit under constant pressure almost from the start of the match.
Meanwhile Ferrer had started well and maintained his level save for some awkward double-faults (are there ever any good times to have them?) but while he stayed in touch with Murray in their opening match, the Spaniard unraveled quite spectacularly at the hands of a rejuvenated Stan Wawrinka.
For some he had been the unsung dark horse in the Britwatch Tennis team’s predictions but sadly it looks as though he will be trotting out of the O2 with a 0/3 record to his name. In all probability, Nadal will wind up facing Djokovic in the semi-final and that will require some preservation of energy in the first degree.
That being said,. There past couple of encounters (albeit on clay) have been hard fought affairs, but their last indoor hard court battle went the way of Ferrer at the Paris Masters. With the elder Spaniard already eliminated, will he have the heart to put up enough of a battle to claim a second successive indoor hard court win?
Nadal’s search for continued confidence in his game suggests not and we expect this to be a two-set rout.
Andy Murray  v Stan Wawrinka  – H2H: 8-6
In the world of Round-Robins and the perpetual generation of scenario grids that involve using fingers, toes and allsorts to calculate, it is refreshing to see that this boils down to a good, old-fashioned shoot out for the second place.
It may well have been a couple of years since the pair met, but in a time when they played each quite often in later rounds of tournaments. But the last couple of times it was Wawrinka who took the honours, and if he keeps that more positive frame of mind carried forward from his win over Ferrer, he will be tough for Murray to get to grips with, if he starts slow again.
Murray’s serving really let him down against Nadal, and his usual sure finishing of points was lapsing into wild swings, and he will need to match Wawrinka’s more attacking play with a far more aggressive game this time around.
Of course at stake is his chance to close out the year as the year-end World No. 2 but as he explained earlier in the tournament that was not a clear goal other than helping for the seedings for the Australian Open.
And as we gallop ever closer to the first GB team in a Davis Cup final in 79 years, there, Wawrinka noted that if his focus is elsewhere, it really does affect his play.
He said: “It’s impossible to know exactly what we can expect from him for Friday. For sure if I look the match today, I think was a little bit flat. For sure the fact he practiced so much after Paris on clay to get the rhythm doesn’t help him to feel completely fresh this week. If he’s mentally not really here, then he’s a different player.”
Murray, for his part vehemently denied that he had any other focus than trying to win here, but you can’t deny that the chance to help his country to a famous win must be an alluring one.
In his first night match of the tournament, if he should bow out at this stage, let’s hope that we get a thriller to end on, for the crowd’s sake.
Nadal v Ferrer is not before 2pm, and Murray v Wawrinka is not before 8pm (all times GMT).
Main Image Credit: Julian Finney/Getty
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