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Blister and success of perennial loser suggests Federer will beat Nadal

If anything should be noted from this year’s Australian Open, it is that particularly one-sided rivalries have been turned on their heads.

Ana Ivanovic had never previously won a set off Serena Williams before dumping her out, Agnieszka Radwanska had lost seven in succession to Victoria Azarenka before her quarter-final success and Stanislas Wawrinka snapped a 14-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic.

This must give additional confidence to Roger Federer ahead of his semi final with Rafael Nadal. After all, Federer has lost the last four meetings between the pair and won just two of the last 12.

Injuries are common place in sport, but rather than the knee problems that have impacted Nadal in recent seasons, it is a blister on the palm of his hand that may affect his chances most against Federer.

Nadal conceded more break points than he obtained in round four against Kei Nishikori and then was arguably fortunate in the quarter finals when Grigor Dimitrov played two of the worst tie-breaks in living memory.

Should Federer be presented with similar openings, the way he played to defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray, on the whole, suggests he will take better advantage.

However, he will need to be more clinical on the clutch points, given he failed to serve out for the match against Murray and threw away two match points in a tie-break that he went on to lose.

Federer is 5/4 in the Australian Open betting to beat Nadal and given that six of the last eight encounters between these greats have been settled in straight sets, taking the 5/1 that Federer prevails 3-0 is not the most idiotic of bets.

Nadal is 8/13 to beat Federer and this is a far more profitable price than what has been typically the case when these two have stood on opposite sides of the net in recent times.

If Federer is to triumph, then there is a feeling that he will need to start quickly and win the first set.

He has only won two matches after dropping the first set since last year’s US Open and has not won a Grand Slam encounter when losing the opening set since his Wimbledon final victory over Murray in 2012.

Federer is 11/10 to win the first set and as both previous Australian Open meetings between this pair have seen at least 12 games make up the first set, a small play on a first-set tie-break at 12/5 is advised.