The King of Clay Rafael Nadal plays in-form Next Gen Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the 2021 Barcelona Open on Sunday, April 25. Get the live streaming options of this Rafael Nadal v Stefanos Tsitsipas match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Rafael Nadal v Stefanos Tsitsipas Head to Head
This will be the ninth meeting between both players. Nadal leads the head-to-head 6-2, having lost to Tsitsipas earlier this year at the Australian Open in the quarter-finals.
Nadal Primed For Title #12 At Barcelona
It has been a difficult start to 2021 for Rafa Nadal. While a good portion of the season thus far saw Nadal troubled with his back, pulling out of the ATP Cup, looking out of sorts in his quarter-final loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Aussie Open as well as pulling out of Rotterdam, Acapulco and Miami, one thought that when it was time for the red dirt, he would be as unstoppable as can be.
Twenty- time major winner Nadal is in search for another French Open, i.e. his 14th which will put him ahead of Roger Federer’s total slam count of twenty titles.
In search of his 12th Monte Carlo tile, Nadal looked nothing less than ominous at the start of last week in Monte Carlo, dismantling Federico Delbonis and Grigor Dimitrov dropping five games in total. While both looked a little out of sorts, Nadal did not really let anyone settle into a groove of any sort either and was in cruise control from the get-go.
However, he ran into one of the players of the year thus far in Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals and that turned out to be one of the biggest wins of the young Russian’s career surprisingly defeating Nadal in a three-set tussle breaking the Spaniard six times during the match.
After an opening round bye here in Barcelona where he is again going for a record number of titles (aiming to better his own record of 11 titles here), Nadal took his time against opponents like Ilya Ivashka and Kei Nishikori dropping a set each and unable to maintain consistency through the match, but using his experience to prevail.
In the quarterfinals against Cameron Norrie, the Spaniard looked more like himself with a straight sets win and it started to seem like the more time he spends on court, the more dangerous he will be during this clay swing.
Nadal was up against compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in the semis, and made it an 8-0 head-to-head, with a convincing straight sets win and sending an alarm that the King of Clay was now almost back to where he belongs.
Tsitsipas Looking For Back-To-Back Clay Titles
Stefanos Tsitsipas has been on a good run in the 2021 season thus far. Winning both his matches at the ATP Cup, he made it to the final eight at the Australian Open where he defeated world number two Rafael Nadal after being down two sets to love, before a straight sets defeat in the semi-finals at the hands of Daniil Medvedev.
He had a good run at the Rotterdam ATP 500 making the semi-finals before losing to the in-form red hot Andrey Rublev who went on to win his fourth consecutive ATP 500 tournament. Another good run at the Acupulco Open saw the young Greek make the finals and he looked in control against Alexander Zverev up 4-1 in the first set, but a turnaround of events saw the German win in two tight sets.
Tsitsipas again looked good in Miami, before he lost control of his match against Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who eventually went on to win the title.
However, he broke the string of strong runs without a title last week, where he put up a spirited showing all week and especially in the final to defeat Andrey Rublev in straight sets and win his first ever Masters 1000 title, which would hopefully set the base for a number of more coveted titles to come for the Greek.
After a first round bye, Tsitsipas played rising Spaniard Jaume Munar in the second round and prevailed with a convincing 6-0, 6-2 win. The Greek continued his confident play with straight set wins over the likes of Alex De Minaur and Felix Auger-Aliassime, and the in-form Jannik Sinner and is now eyeing back-to-back titles on the clay setting him up well for the rest of the clay swing with the French Open a month away.
Having defeated Nadal on the Madrid Clay in 2019, and at the Aussie Open earlier this year, Tsitsipas knows what it takes to prevail against the 20-time major title winner.
Nadal v Tsitsipas Prediction and Tip
Nadal looked iffy last week and took a bit to get into his groove here, but he seems to be improving with every match and will surely start a twelfth Barcelona as a strong favorite.
Tsitsipas will give it his all, but expect Nadal to claim title #12 in straight sets.
Tip: Nadal to win in straight sets: 4/9 (bet365)