Punters face Nadal dilemma for Australian Open clash with Haas

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The condition of Rafael Nadal’s knee has been a relatively big talking point in the lead up to the Australian Open and it will leave punters at a bit of a quandary as to how well he will perform in his second round encounter in Melbourne.

A fully-fit Nadal would have little trouble swatting aside an ageing Tommy Haas, as he has done in all of their four previous meetings.

Nadal has never dropped a set against Haas in these meetings, with the most recent also coming at the Australian Open in 2009.

It is 1/33 in the Australian Open odds that Nadal beats Haas and 2/7 that he adds another straight-set triumph to his collection.

However, with doubts about the condition of his knee, there are reasons to take a punt on a Haas success, even if it is by default.

Nadal was unable to straighten his leg in the build up to the Australian Open and underwent extensive treatment to ensure his appearance.

The Spaniard felt no ill effects of the problem during his first-round success over Alex Kuznetsov, but Haas is liable to keep the ball in play longer, putting extra pressure on the susceptible knee.

Elsewhere in second round action, arguably the toughest match to call is the showdown between David Nalbandian and John Isner.

Nalbandian is the slight favourite at 4/5 to progress, despite sliding down to 87th in the world rankings after an injury-ravaged few years.

He has shown signs of regaining some good form of late, particularly in a recent meeting with Andy Murray and has won his only two career clashes with Isner.

But the American’s big serve is a mighty weapon and he is on the brink of a Grand Slam breakthrough, having taken Nadal to five sets in the French Open last year and then reaching the quarter finals at the US Open.

Isner is 1/1 and may just sneak victory.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.