Rafael Nadal vs. Stanislas Wawrinka: Breaking Down Australian Open Final

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Rafael Nadal vs. Stanislas Wawrinka: Breaking Down Australian Open Final
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal will take on Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open Final on Sunday.

Nadal has a stunning 12-0 all-time record against Wawrinka, and the Swiss player has never even taken a set off of Nadal.

On paper, this looks like it should be a cakewalk for Nadal, who, with a win, would secure his 14th career Grand Slam title, as well as his second Australian Open title. 

Is there anything Wawrinka can do to pull off what would be one of the biggest upsets in the last decade, and maybe even of all-time?

Nadal is concerned about Wawrinka, especially his dynamic serve, as he told the official Twitter account of the Australian Open.

That could actually be a problem for Nadal, who is dealing with a nasty blister injury. Nadal's serve speed dipped in his victory over Roger Federer, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

If Wawrinka can really get his service game going, forcing Nadal to use that blistered hand against tough shots, then it'll be easier for the Swiss to pull off the upset.

It's not like Wawrinka is an awful tennis player; he's far from it. On his march to the finals, he beat such luminaries as Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych

He, like Nadal, has done well on tie-breaks, as the tournament's official Twitter page details.

Of course, Wawrinka has to get into a tiebreaker situation to take advantage of it. Remember, Wawrinka has never taken a set off of Nadal in his career.

The key to an upset is beating Nadal off the serve. Wawrinka wore down Djokovic with great serves, and that's going to have to be the game plan in the final round of the Australian Open. A number of aces would certainly work well for Wawrinka. If the hard serve forces Rafa into unforced errors, then Wawrinka can get aggressive and really try to test Nadal's blister. 

Nadal can't take Wawrinka lightly, even given the remarkable history between the two. Nadal's coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, knows this and told Douglas Robson of USA Today, "It's not the same Wawrinka today (as) one year ago."

Who's going to win?

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That's all well and good, and there's no denying that Wawrinka is a fine tennis player who may even win a few Grand Slam titles before it's all done.

It would be absolutely shocking, however, if Nadal loses. Yes, his blister may be an issue, but it didn't stop him from beating Federer.

Maybe Nadal won't win this one in straight sets, but it's not going to be a very labor-intensive day at the office for Rafa. 

Look, let's be honest here: Barring something truly out of the ordinary or some sort of injury—either a worsening of the blister or something new—it's really hard to imagine a scenario where Nadal does not win this match. Even without the 12-0 career record against Wawrinka, Nadal is just in another planet. 

Look for Nadal to come away with the win, fighting off Wawrinka's serves and taking it in straight sets.

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