Madrid R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Alcaraz, Zverev vs. Nishikori


Get your popcorn ready for a Spanish battle of the generations between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday afternoon at the Madrid Masters. Second-round action also features Alexander Zverev and Kei Nishikori.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. (WC) Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz’s 18th birthday present is a meeting with none other than Nadal at the Mutua Madrid Open. It will come on Wednesday afternoon, when the Spanish teenager gets a shot at the best-ever player from his country. After getting a wild card into the main draw, Alcaraz earned his spot in this matchup by clobbering Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-0 on Monday. It’s fair to say he earned his wild card, too. At just 17 years old, Alcaraz has already won eight main-tour matches in his career (seven this season) and is up to No. 120 in the world.

Even though conditions are not ideal for him in Madrid, Nadal is a five-time champion (four times on clay, once on indoor hard courts). The world No. 2 should take plenty of confidence into this week after lifting the Barcelona trophy in April despite not playing at his highest level. There is no reason why Nadal should be seriously troubled in this one, but it may take more than a few games for the top seed to adjust to the conditions and Alcaraz’s big-hitting game can do some damage in the Caja Magica.

Pick: Nadal in 2 losing 8-10 games

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How many games will Alcaraz win?


Kei Nishikori vs. (5) Alexander Zverev

Zverev and Nishikori will be facing each other for the fourth time in their careers on Wednesday. The head-to-head series stands at 2-1 in Zverev’s favor, but Nishikori won their only previous clay-court encounter via a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 decision in the 2018 Monte-Carlo semifinals. Although the world No. 43 from Japan does not appear to be in the business of reaching Masters 1000 finals at this point in time, he is at least healthy and winning matches again. Nishikori is 9-8 for his 2021 campaign following a 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-2 defeat of Karen Khachanov on Tuesday.

Current form suggests that Zverev should be put on upset alert. Since triumphing in Acapulco, the sixth-ranked German has lost either his first or second match in Miami, Monte-Carlo, and Munich. However, the good news for Zverev is that conditions in Madrid are absolutely perfect for his game. He gets a ton of pop on his shots and he is consistently hitting balls in his strike zone. In three previous appearances, this week’s No. 5 seed has one title (2018) and two runner-up finishes. Look for Zverev to survive a competitive and high-quality contest.

Pick: Zverev in 3

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WWW: Zverev vs. Nishikori?

The post Madrid R2 previews and predictions: Nadal vs. Alcaraz, Zverev vs. Nishikori appeared first on The Grandstand.



Source: http://tenngrand.com/2021/05/04/madrid-r2-previews-and-predictions-nadal-vs-alcaraz-zverev-vs-nishikori/

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