Nadal’s concerns may see Dimitrov come up trumps in London
Federer should cruise into the final
BBC2 and Sky Sports Arena, starts 2pm Sunday
This season has been dominated by the rejuvenation of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – they have shared the four Grand Slams between them – and bookmakers are expecting the curtain to come down on the campaign with the pair battling out for glory in London.
Federer reigned supreme in Melbourne before claiming a record eighth Wimbledon crown, while Nadal conquered Roland Garros for a tenth-time before doubling his honours in New York.
And bookmakers are offering just best-priced 13-8 that the two renew their extraordinary rivalry in next Sunday’s showpiece.
The pair last clashed in the final of this event in 2010 – the last time they shared the four majors between them – but Nadal has never won this tournament and it has been a worrying few weeks for the Spaniard and his band of supporters.
Nadal has already secured the number-one status but a knee injury saw him struggle when going down 6-4 6-3 to old foe Federer in last month’s Shanghai final.
The same niggle forced him to pull out of Paris after dropping a set to Pablo Cuevas just over a week ago and a quick turnaround against elite opposition could see him a vulnerable proposition.
Injuries to Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic mean the competition is much thinner than could have been the case but Nadal’s Pete Sampras group rivals are a talented bunch and well up to causing a stir.
Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin and Dominic Thiem are housed with Nadal and the Bulgarian may lead the charge.
Dimitrov is a frustrating player to follow but he’s in better nick than his challengers and while many arrive in London looking as if a long season is taking its toll, the Bulgarian is holding his form well.
The 26-year-old reached the final in Stockholm at the end of last month, finding only Juan Martin del Potro too determined, and if Nadal begins to toil he looks ready to capitalise.
Goffin has had a busy schedule of late and needs to improve while Thiem has not gone beyond the second round in his six tournaments since the US Open so may be in need of a rest.
Swiss ace Federer looks to have a straightforward task in the Boris Becker group, where sensation Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Jack Sock all have something to prove.
Zverev’s early season exertions are beginning to tell, Cilic tends to go into his shell when facing Federer, while Sock would be relying on the others to underperform to have his say.
Federer should take some stopping but 4-6 is short enough and punters seeking value should take a chance on Dimitrov and back the world number six to face the Swiss legend in the final.
1pt each-way 12-1 BetBright
R Federer v G Dimitrov final
1pt 6-1 bet365
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