2014 Italian Open men’s final analysis

It’s the top 2, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, for the 41st time, and the 21th time in a final. And it’s the 5th time they duel in this particulart tournament, the ATP Italian Open.
Comparing career stats, Nadal is ahead on nearly all of the primary ones, except 1st service points won. (Djokovic leads 73 to 72%, along with a larger aces to double fault ratio)
Djokovic also leads in tiebreaks, 64 to 63%, deciding sets of a match 71 to 70%.

Otherwise Rafa holds the real edge, ever so slightly, in other categories.
In just 3 matches on clay, Novak actually won..these were the 2011 Italian Open, 2011 Madrid Open, and 2013 Monte Carlo.
I looked at those matches to see what Novak might need to do to win today.
58% break points saved
50% break points converted
71% first serve points won
Now we’ll examine via cycles, Rafa first:

Below average for Nadal today, tho he’s showing more strength day by day and still enough of a mental edge to make his power shots stick. But he’ll rather self-absorbed and not terribly motivated as in prior matches.

Here’s Novak:

Doesn’t look for Novak himself, as he’s coming in with weak power, hardly any mental game. He has plenty of heart and will have to rely on that. His overall athletic ability is rather low, along with his focus.

I’m giving this one to Nadal, in 3 very close sets. Get the popcorn.

Rafa vs Novak in biorhythms, stats

Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic do battle in a few hours, for the 39th time in their careers, at tonight’s ATP World Tour Final championship game. This tournament really is the yardstick by which I measure who really is best on the court, instead of a rank.

Granted it’s pretty exhausting to go through 38 matches and figure which player is better between the top two tennis players in the world. I did make a few attempts, yet could not reach a consensus set of numbers that would point the way to either side winning. What I did was take a smaller, yet much more focused, sample. That sample incorporates the three times they have met while playing on an indoor hardcourt surface. Those occurrences took place here:
2009 BNP Paribas Masters 1000 – Paris (Novak won 6-2, 6-3)
2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (Novak won 7-6(5), 6-3 in a round-robin format)
2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (Rafa won 7-5, 6-2, also round robin)
From the available stats of the 3 matches, here’s the benchmarks both need to reach to win:

Djokovic’s benchmarks are:
Aces/double faults: +1 (one more ace than double fault)
1st service points won: 72%
2nd service points won: 50%
Break points converted: 50%
Return points won: 38%
Rafa’s benchmarks are these:
Aces/double faults: +4
1st service points won: 65%
2nd service points won: 55%
Break points converted: 41%
Return points won: 36%
Now we’ll look at the biorhythms. First, the world #2:

A small window but an important one: Djokovic is actually in a triple high today! He might make a few blatant errors as he’s still on the influence of a mental critical day, but his game is very strong today. His drive is super high here and will find it easier here than on other days to see a possible 3-set match through.

Here’s Rafa’s cycles:

Rafa’s at the tail end of a triple low which has plagued him all week. Emotionally he’s feeling somewhat better and is more attuned to the crowd and so forth. His pure game is at a nadir and his focus alongsides appears to be lacking.

I’m declaring a straight set (2 sets) victory for Novak.

Stats: http://www.matchstat.com http://www.atpworldtour.com

Bahrain Grand Prix; NASCAR; ATP Tennis predictions & analysis 4/21/13

The Bahrain International Circuit, amidst protests, will indeed host the 9th Bahrain Grand Prix for Formula 1 drivers and cars. Here’s the tale of the tape:

Wins: Fernando Alonso is 3 of 8, Felipe Massa 2 of 8, Jenson Button 1 of 8, and Sebastian Vettel, 3-year reigning F1 titleist, 1 of 4.
Top 5s: Kimi Raikkonen is 5 of 7, Alonso 4 of 8.
Laps: Mark Webber has turned 431 laps here without a win, Nico Rosberg doing 334, and Raikkonen 349.

Led laps: Interestingly, 2 drivers have led 4 laps without winning a race, Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. The 4 drivers with more laps led have all won.

Top 5 average finish position with at least 3 races here:
Alonso: 4.9
Raikkonen: 5.6
Hamilton: 6.0
Massa: 6.9
Vettel: 7.2
Raikkonen gains 5.5 positions per race here.
Alonso & Massa have run all 8 races to the finish. Only Alonso has finished all 8 on the lead lap.

Now for my top 5:
Nico Rosberg (pole)
Paul Di Resta

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway update:
Here’s my prediction of the top 10
Carl Edwards
Matt Kenseth
Greg Biffle
Mark Martin
Kyle Busch
Clint Bowyer
Kevin Harvick
Marcos Ambrose
Tony Stewart
Kurt Busch

Sunday morning at Monte Carlo is the finals of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters.   Nadal/Djokovic. Sound familiar? They’ve locked horns 33 times, with Nadal leading 19 to 14 and 13-2 on the clay surface.
Seeking holes in Rafa’s games, I looked to the last few meetings. Nadal has won the last 3 matches.  Djokovic seems to have an edge in break points saved.  Djokovic won the prior 7 matches.  In the losses, Nadal outpointed routinely on aces, 1st serve, and break points saved and converted.

Here’s biorhythms for Djokovic:

Pretty decent cycles out of a mini low toward a mini high tho is relying on heart and brain rather than brawn here. 

And here’s Nadal:

Terrible cycles for him Sunday as he’s in the midst of a triple low.

Djokovic in 3 sets.

2013 Australian Open men’s round of 16 (upper half)

Giving you a look at the 8 players in the upper half of the Men’s round of 16 via the magic of biorhythms. 

#1 Novak Djokovic:

#15 Stanislas Wawrinka:  

Both sides really weak, a match that should go 4, maybe even 5, but I see Djokovic avoiding an upset from the Swiss, making much more intelligent shots and fewer unforced errors. Ugly game to watch. 

Kevin Anderson:

#5 Tomas Berdych:

All Tomas really has is sheer power. He’s just awful at making proper decisions on court and rather mediocre in the rest of his game currently. Anderson on critical day emotionally…so watch out for a meltdownfeeling terribly sure of himself, maybe overconfident in comparison to Berdych.  All the same, this should be a straight set winner for Anderson, giving the unseeded Czech a spot against the Djokovic/Wawrinka winner.   

#4  David Ferrer:

#16 Kei Nishikori:  

Looking forward to this one! Both players in top physical form. Nishikori has the strength and focus to win here. However, all of Ferrer’s cycles are pointing up, starting to feel more assured of himself. I see Nishikori winning a thrilling 5-setter.

#10 Nicholas Almagro

#8 Janko Tipsaveric 

Almagro’s cycles sharply heading down, sucking the life out of his game. He’s got some strength remaining tho.  Tipsaveric not much better, frankly lacking enough passion to see this through.  Both players really weak. Another ugly match should result in a straight set win for Tipsaveric, as at least he’s starting to feel the strength coming back to him.   

In the quarters I currently see Anderson prevailing over the defending champion, and Nishikori likewise over Tipsaveric, the latter having played a ton of games in this event. Nishikori is the strongest of the 8 players remaining in this upper half. 

Back a bit later with the women’s lower half of the round of 16.