If there have been surprises during the early rounds of the Copa Claro, the identity of the two finalists is not surprising at all, as the no 1 and no 2 seeds will face on the Central of the BALTC at 4PM local time. From the star-studded filed of the beginning of the week, only two men are left standing: David Ferrer and Nicolás Almagro.
Ferrer: the heavy favourite
If, prior to the start of the tournament, David Ferrer was the favourite to win due to his better ranking and the fact that he is the first seed of the tournament, the strength and consistency he displayed throughout the whole tournament, as well as the way he cruised through his draw make him the heavy favourite to win his first title in the Argentine capital.
The 2010 runner-up, like in most of his previous matches, did not have much trouble dispatching the no less in form David Nalbandian, 6-1 6-4, in the semi-finals last night, in very tough weather conditions: heavy winds, rain, the elements made sure that this match would be spectacular despite the fact that Nalbandian, even of his own admittance, did not play a good match.
All the contrary for Ferrer, as he was solid from one end of the match to the other, not seeming particularly bothered by the elements. Consistent, although obviously not serving his best (difficult with all that wind for both players), he really earned his place in today’s final.
Almagro: a contender not to overlook
If David Ferrer is the heavy favourite to win the title, we definitely cannot downplay Nicolás Almagro’s chances as, like Ferrer said after the match, “every match against him is a difficult match”. Not only is Almagro in great shape and very confident, he also showed that he is here to fight and he demonstrated it during the tournament, both in a tough first rounder against Potito Starace, but most of all yesterday, in a fairly even encounter against Stanislas Wawrinka.
Questioned about how similar his game was to Wawrinka’s after the match, Almagro gave the backhand advantage to the Swiss but admitted that the rest of their game was pretty even and similar, something that showed again during their semi-final match, a tough 6-4 3-6 7-5 win for the Spaniard in what was arguably the best and tightest match of the tournament. From exquisite backhands to long and disputed rallies, we were treated to high drama on the Centre Court, much to the delight of the crowd.
Judging by the way he played since the beginning of the week, the defending champion will most definitely fight until the very end to retain his crown and can definitely cause the surprise.
Considering how strong David Ferrer has been throughout the tournament, I stick with my initial prediction and think that he will win, but I also think the match will be tight. The last two weeks of tennis will catch up on Nicolás Almagro if the match is long. Consequently, I think that David Ferrer will win the match in two tight sets, maybe a tiebreak.