Rafael Nadal ended Switzerland’s hopes of a dream Australian Open final and with it the chances of Stanislas Wawrinka lifting his first Grand Slam.
Wawrinka would have been cheering on his countryman for two reasons: one because he is Federer’s friend but perhaps secretly more because he knew his chances against Nadal are almost non-existent.
The 28-year-old has never come close to beating the Pearl of Manacor in their twelve previous meetings, failing to take even a set off the imperious Spaniard.
The Swiss number two will understandably be focusing on himself as he prepares for his maiden major final and the fact he has reached the highest level of his career this week.
He will also be drawing inspiration from his victory over Novak Djokovic, only his fourth in 20 attempts.
However, the popular right-hander had tasted success against the Serb before and it will be difficult for him to even envisage how to beat Nadal.
There was no shortage of support for Federer before his semi-final match such was the excellent form shown by the 32-year-old when comfortably beating Jo Wilfried-Tsonga and Andy Murray.
But all of that was quickly forgotten on Rod Laver Arena as Nadal cemented his dominance in no uncertain terms over the 17-time Grand Slam champion, extending his record to six consecutive victories at the highest level.
Nadal has a positive head-to-head record against every player in the game but his personal history with Federer over recent years has been one-way and it showed in Melbourne.
This spells disaster for Wawrinka’s chances and it’s impossible to advise supporting the upset.
After winning the last two Grand Slams last year Nadal is hungry to consolidate his place as world number one and there’s precious little encouragement to be found for his opponent.
For a man who has won all 26 sets contested pre-match odds of 1/6 are generous.
However, no-one will be getting rich at that price and so the advice is to back Nadal to win within the minimum distance at Evens and tighten his stranglehold over Wawrinka and the game as a whole.
The Swiss hitter has thoroughly deserved his place in the final after consistently knocking on the door at majors in the past two seasons.
Unfortunately his first final looks set to be a brutal reminder of how far he still has to come.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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