Top seed and five-time champion Rafael Nadal will play Australia’s fast-rising star Alexei Popyrin in the third round of the 2021 Madrid Open on Thursday, May 6. Get the live streaming options of this Rafael Nadal v Alexei Popyrin match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Rafael Nadal v Alexei Popyrin Head to Head
Nadal and Popyrin have never met before this. It will be their first meeting of any kind on tour.
Nadal Spoils Alcaraz’s Birthday Party
In a cross-generation matchup that was enticing the moment the draw was made, Rafael Nadal made light work of his younger compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, coming through in straight sets, 6-1 6-2.
This was a match billed as the present versus the future of Spanish tennis. Nadal, the five-time champion at the event and the joint record holder of 20 Grand Slams, picked up from where he left off in Barcelona. He overcame an opening game wobble and rushed into a 5-0 lead as Alcaraz struggled to cope with the higher bouncing balls from Nadal’s turbine-like topspin forehand.
After wrapping up the first set in 33 minutes, Nadal continued to pummel and with intent. Alcaraz, who was celebrating his 18th birthday, found little joy on the court as the unforced errors kept rising markedly. The two Spaniards exchanged breaks in the second set, but Nadal was always in the ascendancy.
The top seed clinched victory in 75 minutes to progress. While the win is just a footnote in Nadal’s fine record down the years, it served a telling reminder that he will be the man to beat this week.
Popyrin Shocks Sinner
Alexei Popyrin continues to punch above his weight, and this latest upset win over Jannik Sinner added to another chapter of his breakout season.
The Aussie, who needed to scale past two grueling rounds of qualifying to enter the main draw, has now won two matches at Masters 1000 level to advance past the second round for the first time.
After watching Sinner fail to serve for the first set, he felt the knock of opportunity. It was one of those rare occasions when the young Italian was outhit from baseline.
Popyrin summoned the gumption that made him an ATP tour champion in Singapore. He snatched the opening set in a tiebreak, and Sinner’s game completely disintegrated thereafter.
The second was largely dominated by the Australian World No. 76 as he secured three breaks of serve to clinch victory in an hour and 36 minutes.
Nadal v Popyrin Prediction and Tip
While Popyrin has done remarkably well to get to this juncture, his form on clay is hardly a strong point. Nadal should maintain his dominance.