2- RAFAEL NADAL VS. 12-NICOLAS ALMAGRO
Nadal once crushed his countryman here in 2008, and then in 2010 Almagro played him much closer in a 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 loss. Almagro says that he is more settled in his life now and consequently is a stronger player. He thinks he’s going into this contest with a shot and he has been playing very well in Paris.
Maybe he does have a puncher’s chance. Even though Nadal is 7-0 against him, their last four matches have been fairly tight. Almagro has an excellent serve, weapons off both wings and moves well. But what he does not do particularly well is crack balls on the run and Nadal will certainly get him moving. Plus, even though Almagaro’s one-handed backhand is excellent, it does not hold up that well against Nadal’s heavy forehand. Moreover, Nadal has lost fewer games this year than he has in his previous six title runs. He’s playing at another level all together. Almagro may be able to push his countryman, but he does not have the capability of beating him in five sets. Take Nadal in a tough four-setter.
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