Rafael Nadal: Spaniard Must Clean Up Unforced Errors to Win Italian Open
To win the Italian Open for the sixth time, however, Nadal will need to clean up the bevy of unforced errors—especially on his backhand—to beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the finals.
Djokovic defeated multiple time champion Roger Federer 6-2, 7-6 (4) later Saturday afternoon.
Nadal will find it hard to beat Djokovic if he is as sloppy as he was early Saturday.
According to ESPN, Nadal had 20 unforced errors during his extended first-set win. Fifteen came from his backhand, which Ferrer relentlessly attacked. While that kind of sloppiness could be overcome against a player like Ferrer, struggling early again in the final won't cut it against the likes of Djokovic and Federer.
Nadal was impressed with how Ferrer attacked him early, according to Sports Illustrated.
"(In) the first set it was unbelievable how David set the (tone) with amazing rhythm and aggressive (shots)," Nadal said. "The thing that I tried to do was to keep the score close."
Expect the aggressive Djokovic to follow Ferrer's blueprint and make Nadal go to his backhand as much as he can in the final. If the unforced errors happen again, Djokovic will pounce on the Spaniard. He did just as much against Federer in the semifinals.
Will Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic win the Italian Open final?
Federer committed twice as many unforced errors—42-20—as Djokovic Saturday, and it was ultimately his undoing. According to the Sports Illustrated piece linked above, Federer made a number of errors that allowed Djokovic to emerge as the winner during their tiebreaker.
The same fate could be headed Nadal's way if his sloppiness with the backhand continues in the final.
Djokovic actually beat Nadal in the final of this same tournament last year. The two have faced off several times since, with their epic match at the Australian Open serving as the one of the better tennis matches we've seen in recent history.
While Nadal has been solid on clay—winning back-to-back titles on the surface earlier this year—his mastery of the court won't matter much if the mistakes pile up. Djokovic is hard enough to beat when a player limits the errors, but Nadal can make it nearly impossible if the problems he had Saturday aren't cleaned up.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?