ATP Madrid Preview
The ATP Madrid, also known as the Madrid Open, is an ATP World Tour Masters 1,000 event that has been established since 2002. It is a clay-court event and, though the courts are generally perceived to be amongst the fastest clay-court on the professional circuit, in 2012 the events caused all sorts of controversy by dying the courts blue, which made them slower that year.
Rafa Nadal has won the tournament four-times, and been runner-up three times, whilst Novak Djokovic won the title in 2011. Andy Murray has also taken the title twice.
The ATP Madrid has never looked a top priority for top-seed Novak Djokovic but, after his shock early exit last-time out, he’ll definitely want to get some clay court matches under his belt with the French Open just over two-weeks away. The second grand-slam of the ear will be his clay-court priority, but he may well want to send a message to the rest of the world that one shock defeat shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness. He has got quite a tough draw though, with the likes of Coric, Bautista-Agut and Tsonga to play – but he’s probably relishing those tests rather than worrying about them – and should progress.
This looks a seriously strong quarter with 2013 runner-up Wawrinka and 2014 runner-up Nishikori, as well as the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Pablo Cuevas and Kevin Anderson battling it out. Wawrinka has the talent, but may well reserve his energy for defending his title at Roland Garros, and Nishikori can continue his improvement on clay by making it to the semis.
Roger Federer will be pleased to be in the opposite side of the draw to Djokovic, but probably won’t be relishing having to potentially knock out an inform Nadal at the quarter-final stage. Me may also have to knockout Thiem before then, unless the youngster’s exertions in Munich last-week have taken their toll. Nadal looks to have the easier route to the quarters with only Goffin fancied to put-up much resistance, and Nadal is fancied to make it to the semis as he continues to build-up his confidence.
Twice-champion Andy Murray only looks to have Dimitrov to worry about on his way to a potential clash with 2012 runner-up Tomas Berdych, who in turn has most to fear from a likely last-16 clash with David Ferrer. However Murray, like Djokovic, will see a decent run here as the perfect build-up for the French Open, and is expected to at least make the semi-finals.
If the semi-final line-ups are as expected, then you have to fancy Djokovic to see off Nishikori, whilst Nadal may just have found to much game for new-dad Murray at the moment, and a Djokovic/Nadal final will certainly whet the appetite for the French Open. However, though Nadal is having a great season, Djokovic has such a great record against the Spaniard recently that he has to be the pick – and the 10/11 available is nearly double the price you would have got if he hadn’t been beaten last time.
Djokovic @ 10/11 (Betvictor)