Soderling has beaten Verdasco in 80% of their matches.
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Robin Soderling faces Fernando Verdasco in the final of the ATP Barcelona match on Sunday and Soderling is looking good to take down a rare title. This is a final between the 8th and 9th ranked players on tour and it is pretty important for judging who is who on clay.
Soderling has come in as the favorite with bet365 while Verdasco may be heading for his second consecutive finals loss (he lost to Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo):
Verdasco to win: +138 (7/5)
Soderling to win: -175 (4/7)
Head to head these players have faced one another 5 times and Soderling has won 4 of their matches, including the only 2 that have been played on clay. Importantly they have not met since 2008 and Soderling is the player that has improved the most since that time.
Both are underachievers in terms of titles won as Verdasco only has 4 to his credit in his career while Soderling has just 5.
In terms of statistical percentages on the year these two players are very similar. They have both won 29% of their return games while Soderling has a slight edge in service games won at 85% vs. Verdasco's 82% (all stats as of April 19th).
However they are late in an important tournament (500 level) and fatigue is an important factor to assess this late in any draw. Verdasco played several long matches in Monte Carlo just last week while Soderling was inactive, something that should give the Swedish star an edge as Verdasco is in his second consecutive final and hasn't had much time off lately.
With fatigue being important, you have to really like Soderling's ability to win cheap points on serve against his Spanish opponent. Soderling has 176 aces in 211 service games this season while Verdasco has just 145 aces in 284 service games. Basically Soderling is producing far more total aces than Verdasco in far fewer opportunities.
Not only can you expect Soderling to get more easy points than Verdasco when Soderling serves, but he should also get more easy points when returning as Verdasco is far more prone to double faults.
One of Verdasco's strengths is outworking his opponent after the serve and during rallies. However, you have to wonder how much is left in the tank after all the sets that he has been playing recently.
Soderling is more like a -225 favorite in this match and so he is well worth backing at -175 with bet365 or longer.
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