This getting a little bit beyond a joke now.
I said yesterday that the rain had probably put paid to the chances of one of my big-priced outrights in the Montreal semi finals, but incredibly, it turned out even worse than I’d expected on Saturday.
The doomsday scenario was that more rain would delay the quarter final between 100-1 Gael Monfils and 40-1 Roberto Bautista Agut so that even less recovery time before the semi final would be available – but there wasn’t to be a semi final.
Monfils, in typically dramatic fashion, extended the RBA clash all the way to a final set tie break, despite being injured again (remember, he said he was “almost 100% physically” after the Hurkacz match and had an extra day off) and then was unable to play the semi, having won the deciding breaker 7-2.
So, because we had Monfils each-way, we effectively got dealt a walkover defeat for a 50-1 shot in a deciding match, which by my reckoning makes it 2-10 win/loss for our outrights in deciding matches this season.
It was always unlikely that the winner of Monfils/RBA would have beaten Nadal anyway, even if fully fit and fresh, but to not even have had a chance is pretty galling.
So, on Sunday in Montreal it’s the man that became our ninth outright final defeat of the season last week when he lost in two breakers in the Washington final versus the man that’s played a grand total of seven sets to get to the title match.
They start at (not before) 21:00 UK time on Sunday (16:00 local) when it’s expected to be cloudy, with little wind and no rain is expected.
Rafael Nadal vs Daniil Medvedev
Karen Khachanov didn’t give us much of a chance yesterday either, with a weak showing – especially in the opening set that he needed – coughing up 29 unforced errors in 20 games against Medvedev.
So, it’s back-to-back finals for Medvedev and the fact that we haven’t backed him outright this week should probably come as some relief for the Russian, who has to have a decent chance in his fifth final of the season.
Indeed we were on Medvedev in two of the three he lost, so looking on the bright side at least we can’t lose another final today.
It’ll be a first career meeting between this pair and on form and considering the play style of Medvedev I think we have to side with him in some way on Sunday.
Away from clay the Russian’s fast, very low, flat hitting off both wings should take a lot of Rafa’s time away and we’ll just have to hope that Medvedev doesn’t get nervous in what will be the biggest match of his career so far – a Masters 1000 final.
Perhaps the fact that he was playing a friend that he’s known for many years yesterday helped his nerves a bit, but I can’t help thinking that Medvedev might be a bit shaky at times on Sunday.
He’s talked (probably unwisely) about being nervous in matches a few times and that puts me off backing him to win set one at around 2.62, which otherwise would have been an option given that Nadal hasn’t played for a couple of days.
Indeed, Nadal didn’t look exactly in peak form when he lucked his way past the injured Fabio Fognini from a set down and prior to that he should have dropped set one to Dan Evans in his first match of the week.
Rafa’s lack of rhythm is to be expected after his inactivity since Wimbledon and the question is can Medvedev seize his opportunity on the day in favourable conditions against an opponent that needs more hard court matches to find his best form.
Medvedev probably won’t get a better chance to beat Rafa in a big title match than this and his status as underdog should help with the nerves, with little outside pressure on him today.
What worries me about backing Medvedev on the game handicap is his habit of chucking sets away when he’s losing them – he’s dropped 14 sets 0-6 or 1-6 since the start of last season and he does have that tendency to throw the towel in a bit if he sees a lost cause.
I do feel that if Medvedev handles the nerves he’s got at least a set in him today and the fact that he’s beaten Novak Djokovic and pushed Roger Federer close should give him the belief.
Technically, as he’s a tall player, with a good two-handed backhand he should be better able than some to deal with the top spin from Nadal on a hard court, while his own low ball trajectory should bother Nadal.
The over games or over sets look the ones here and over 2.5 sets at 2.50 is worthy of a small interest before we move on to Cincinnati.
0.5 points win over 2.5 sets in Medvedev/Nadal at 2.50