Rafael Nadal vs Cameron Norrie: A Tricky Match for the Australian Open Champ (Feb. 26)
TPN/Getty. Pictured: Rafa Nadal hits a forehand in the second round of the Australian Open.
- After upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas, Cameron Norrie will face Rafa Nadal in the final match in Acapulco.
- Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to advance to the final as a favorite.
- David Gertler breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Rafael Nadal vs. Cameron Norrie
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
Rafael Nadal is playing at an incredibly high level this season. After winning the Australian Open over Daniil Medvedev last month in an incredible comeback victory, Nadal beat Medvedev again in the semifinals of Acapulco to advance to the finals.
While the match was closer than the scoreline indicates, Nadal was incredibly clutch, saving all 11 break points on his serve. In addition, he pounced on the Medvedev second serve, with the Russian only able to win 25% of his second-serve points as he was broken on three occasions.
Overall, while Nadal won 65% of his service points, Medvedev only won 55% of the points on his serve.
Nadal is yet to drop a set this week, with victories over Denis Kudla, Stefan Kozlov, and Tommy Paul, in addition to his win over Medvedev. While those first three matches weren’t against the toughest opposition, the win over Medvedev signaled that Nadal is ready, no matter whom he plays.
With the pattern of his heavy forehand cross-court into opponent’s backhands along with his brutally consistent depth, it’s hard to get a foothold in matches against Nadal.
Cameron Norrie is having a spectacular week in Acapulco. In his latest victory, he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to reach the final.
Norrie played such a smart match. He effectively moved the ball around the court with great depth and consistency, used his heavy forehand to get the ball high to the Tsitsipas backhand, and showed incredible anticipation regarding where Tsitsipas was hitting the ball during rallies.
Norrie also served very well, winning 79% of his service points and facing only one break point all match, which he saved. Norrie, who managed to serve at 73% first serves in, placed his serves in the box beautifully and made it very hard for Tsitsipas to get into the Brit’s service games.
This is a fascinating match between two in-form players. Nadal, given his pedigree and recent form is the deserved favorite and hasn’t lost a set to Norrie in their three previous head-to-head matchups.
The court speed works well for both players. Both players enjoy playing on slower, high-bouncing courts. While Nadal has long been known for his success on these types of courts, Norrie showcased what he could do not only this week but also in Indian Wells last year. Norrie beat Nikoloz Basilashvili to win the title in Indian Wells last season.
But, more so because of what he’s shown this week than in Indian Wells, it’s hard to count him out. The awkwardness of his game is never fun to play against, but when he’s able to combine that awkwardness with pinpoint precision, great touch, a well-placed first serve, and brutal consistent depth, then Norrie is a nightmare to play.
And that’s just what he’s showing this week.
Yes, Norrie won’t be able to get his forehand high into a one-handed backhand against Nadal like he did against Tsitsipas, but the level of tennis he has shown recently and his affinity for this type of court makes me believe that he can at least keep this match close.
Norrie might fade toward the end of this match, so I don’t feel comfortable with the spread. However, I do see him hanging tough with Nadal for a while and think that the over is the right play.
Pick: Over 20.5 games (-120 at PointsBet)