World number two Rafael Nadal will be up against the sixth-ranked Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinal of the 2021 Madrid Open on Friday, May 7. Get the live streaming options of this Rafael Nadal v Alexander Zverev match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Rafael Nadal v Alexander Zverev Head to Head
There have been seven previous meetings between these two players including one in the Davis Cup of 2018 and Nadal leads 5-2. Interestingly, both of Zverev’s wins over the Spaniard came in their latest two meetings, including the 2019 ATP Finals and the 2020 Paris Masters.
Before that, there were two meetings on clay, in Monte-Carlo and Rome and Nadal won both.
Nadal Seeking Titles Galore
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 the clay swing 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.
Given his unparalleled success on clay, five titles at Madrid seem low compared to other tournaments and the Spaniard came to Madrid hoping to further that with another title in the bag.
Nadal has looked ominous again against Carlos Alcaraz and Alexei Popyrin this week, winning matches in record time, but with the likes of Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem in his section, he will be wary of the road ahead.
Zverev Finding His Feet On Clay
After an up and down last couple seasons and a 0-3 record at the ATP Cup in 2020, Alexander Zverev led the German charge into the semi-finals of this year’s ATP Cup. After a decent Aussie Open run that fell short in the final eight against Novak Djokovic, Zverev was on bit of a high when he registered a straight-set win over arch-rival Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Acapulco Open, winning his first title of the season in the process. S
Since then, however, his form has taken bit of a beating and he will be looking to get back into the reckoning for Roland-Garros. With losses to Ilya Ivasha in Munich and David Goffin in Monte Carlo, the clay season did not start well for the German and he will be hoping the Madrid & Rome Masters 1000s, both which he has won before turn that around.
Zverev has had his hands full this week in terms of quality of opponents facing Kei Nishikori and Dan Evans but has prevailed and looked in good touch and grown in form and confidence.
The German knows what it takes to beat Nadal as he has done before but the challenge on clay will be different and he knows he will need to be at his best.
Nadal v Zverev Prediction and Tip
The young German Zverev has been finding his rhythm this week on the clay and will be pleased with how he is shaping up ahead of the French Open, after the disappointment last week in Munich. But, he is up against someone who is as good as it gets on clay and finding his touch as well.
Expect a good show by Zverev but Nadal should prevail in straight sets.