Top seed Rafael Nadal plays rising compatriot teenager Carlos Alcaraz in the second round of the 2021 Madrid Open on Wednesday, May 5. Get the live streaming options of this Rafael Nadal v Carlos Alcaraz match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Andrey Rublev v Carlos Alcaraz Head to Head
This will be the first meeting between the players on the tour.
Nadal Looking to Continue Strong Clay Season After Barcelona Win
It was a difficult start to 2021 for Rafa Nadal. While a good portion of the first quarter of the season 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 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 in Barcelona where he was 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. Continuing the trend in the semi-finals against compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta, Nadal set up a mouth watering final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, i.e. Monte Carlo ATP 1000 winner.
It was an exciting final which the King Of Clay squeezed out in a decider, saving champshionship points and winning a record 12th Barcelona title.
Nadal will look to continue his clay run this month at the Madrid and Rome Masters 1000s. Given his unparalleled success on clay, five titles at Madrid seem low compared to other tournaments and he will look to further the record here with another title in the bag.
Dream Come True As Alcaraz Plays Childhood Idol
It has been quite an impressive short career thus far for young Carlos Alcarazy. At 16, he made his ATP main draw debut in Rio last year and stunned fellow countryman and 41st ranked Albert Ramos Vinolas in the opener. At 17, the Spaniard scored another massive win, this time at Melbourne, defeating top seed David Goffin in the second round.
Currently ranked just outside the top 100 in the world, Alcaraz has been very impressive at the start of the new season. The Spaniard defeated Slovakia’s Filip Horansky, Russia’s Evgeny Karlovskiy and Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien to qualify for the Australian Open, and went on to beat the Netherlands’ Botic Van de Zandschlup on his Grand Slam main draw debut. He was knocked out by Sweden’s Mikael Ymer in the Round of 64.
With a less than impressive showing at both Acapulco and Dubai, Alcaraz hit good form at the Andalucia Open, first defeating veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in three sets and then surprising all against fellow Next Gen clay court specialist Casper Ruud in the final eight 6-2,6-4 and looking in ominous form heading into the final four before falling to upcoming compatriot Jaume Munar.
While early losses at Barcelona and Estoril may have dampened spirits, Alcaraz looked in good form in his opener here in Madrid against French veteran Adrian Mannarino defeating him 6-4, 6-0 and is ready to face the idol of his tennis upbringing, i.e. Rafa Nadal in the next round.
Nadal v Alcaraz Prediction and Tip
Alcaraz has looked good in his young career and especially on the clay; but he will be up against the man he has idolized all his life, i.e. Nadal on the Madrid dirt
Expect Nadal and the occasion to get the better of him.