Rafa Nadal vs. Maxime Cressy ATP Melbourne Final Odds, Preview, Analysis

Rafa Nadal vs. Maxime Cressy ATP Melbourne Final Odds, Preview, Analysis article feature image

Credit: Mike Frey, Getty. Rafa Nadal hits a backhand at the Melbourne Summer Set tournament.

Rafa Nadal vs. Maxime Cressy

Nadal Odds-700
Cressy Odds+450
Time3 a.m. ET 
Head-to-Head Record: 0-0
Odds via Caesars. For tips on how to watch tennis, click here

Rafa Nadal will be playing in the final of his first ATP tournament since his withdrawal from the Washington Open and subsequent surgery in August 2021.

The world number six and 20-time grand slam champion advanced into the final of the Adelaide International after beating Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 7-5.

Career final number 126! 🙌@RafaelNadal holds off a strong challenge from Ruusuvuori to reach the #MelbourneTennis final 6-4 7-5 pic.twitter.com/jqa3JxhzNu

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 8, 2022

His opponent is young American Maxime Cressy, who has been aiming to revitalize the serve-and-volley approach. He's been doing it well over the past couple years, but in this tournament it's allowed him to get by Reilly Opelka, Jaume Munar and Grigor Dimitrov en route to Nadal.

First ATP final! 👏

American qualifier Maxime Cressy reaches his maiden career final, defeating Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6. #MelbourneTennispic.twitter.com/yoVqiNHcbx

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 8, 2022

While Cressy is ranked outside of the top 100, he'll be making his top 100 debut after this event. There aren't many pure serve-and-volleyers left in the game, as the baseline power and consistency of the sport has made it hard to accomplish.

Nonetheless, Cressy has been committed to the strategy and remains throughout in most of his matches. It's allowed him to stay consistent in big moments, evidenced by the fact he's won all three of his tiebreaks in the event and has saved 18-of-20 break points that he has faced.

Nadal, however, is a different beast to what he's seen thus far. The ability to return massive serves off the backhand side is far better than any player Cressy has faced up to this point,

The ability that the Spaniard has to pass Cressy from all different types of situations — on the move, both wings, different angles, etc. — could provide further complications for Cressy. The first volley on approach will have to be perfect to ensure he remains ahead in the point, or he risks Nadal passing him consistently.

There isn't much data to go off of on Cressy's ability against lefties, but he's 6-3 overall and 0-1 on the ATP Tour. This matchup will be an interesting stylistic matchup to observe early in the season, and it'll be a worthwhile test for both players.

Betting Value

This is a really hard match to bet on for a number of reasons.

The moneyline isn't really in play as Nadal doesn't have value at such a big number and I would need Cressy to be in the range of +600 or above to even consider it. At 4.5, the game spread favors Nadal slightly but it's possible that a break a set wouldn't cover that, so I'm not enamored with that price either.

At -200 and +150, the set spread favors Nadal again, but paying -200 in this situation isn't ideal either. Some books are offering four games on the game spread, and if you can make that wager at -125 or better that would be the point where I would enter the match.

If you can find that opportunity with books hovering around that number, I don't give Cressy a significant chance of gaining traction in Nadal's service games and forcing the issue.

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