Saturday, 5 May 2012

ATP Madrid: Preview and Predictions

The ATP draw for Madrid is littered with all the names you would expect apart from Andy Murray, who has had to withdraw due to a back injury.  Note that that top eight players all receive byes in the first round.  Let's take a look at the draw...

Giles Simon
PROJECTED QUARTER 1 - Novak Djokovic (1) v Janko Tipsarevic (7)
Novak Djokovic will open his Madrid title defence against a qualifier before a projected third round clash with Feliciano Lopez.  There are a number of threats in this section such as Stanislas Wawrinka and Jurgen Melzer.  Wawrinka made the semi-finals in Estoril this week, meanwhile Melzer had that stunning run to the semi-finals of Roland Garros in 2010; I think Melzer, who plays Lopez in the first round, will win a few rounds in Madrid.  Djokovic's potential quarter-final opponent is fellow Serbian, Janko Tipsarevic.  He could face a steadily improving Albert Ramos in the second round.  Giles Simon could then await in the third round, who has hit a hot streak of form having reached the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo and winning the title in Bucharest.  I would expect Simon, who beat Tipsarevic in Monte-Carlo, to make the quarter-finals in Madrid.

My QF Prediction - Novak Djokovic v Giles Simon

PROJECTED QUARTER 2 - Roger Federer (3) v David Ferrer (5)
Roger Federer will kick off his european clay court season with a difficult match against the winner of Milos Raonic and David Nalbandian.  Nalbandian has reached the final in Serbia, meanwhile Raonic proved his clay court credentials with a stirring effort in Barcelona where he defeated Andy Murray.  In the third round, Richard Gasquet could await Federer although the Brazilian, Thomasz Bellucci will be a tough test in the first round.  David Ferrer is Federer's projected quarter-final opponent and will play the winner of an interesting first round match between Radek Stepanek and Bernard Tomic.  He could then face Nicolas Almagro in an all Spanish third rounder.  Almagro started the year in fine form, but since moving to the clay he has failed to hit top form and will have to reach his highest level to get past Ferrer.

My QF Prediction - Roger Federer v David Ferrer

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
PROJECTED QUARTER 3 - John Isner (8) v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (4)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga headlines a third section which is packed with quality players.  Tsonga has had a disappointing season so far, which was further compounded by a miserable loss to Tommy Haas in Munich last week.  He will face a qualifier or Ryan Harrison in the second round.  before meeting the dangerous, Alexandr Dolgopolov in round three.  In his current form, it is not a match I see him winning.  The other top eight seed in this section is John Isner, who big things are expected off in this clay court season following impressive wins over Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on the clay courts during Fed Cup action earlier this year.  In the first round, he will face Albert Montanes or Marin Cilic, who has kickstarted an injury affected 2012 with a run to the final in Munich this week.  In the third round, Isner is likely to run into Juan Martin Del Potro who has looked in fiery form in Estoril. I anticipate another good week for the Argentine...

My QF Prediction - Juan Martin Del Potro v Alexandr Dolgopolov

PROJECTED QUARTER 4 - Tomas Berdych (6) v Rafael Nadal (2)
Rafael Nadal has made an ominous start to the 2012 clay court season winning titles in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, and he will be the favourite heading into Madrid.  Nadal will play either Ivo Karlovic or Nikolay Davydenko before a potential third round match-up with Fernando Verdasco, who he has beaten in all 13 of their matches.  Nadal's quarter-final opponent is likely to be Tomas Berdych, who has been a consistent threat on the tour throughout 2012.  He will open up his campaign against either Kevin Anderson or Alex Bogomolov before a third round meeting with Gael Monfils is on the cards.  Monfils has missed the majority of 2012 so i'm predicting his first round opponent, Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has reached the final in Munich this week will meet Berdych in round three.

My QF Prediction - Tomas Berdych v Rafael Nadal

FINAL PREDICTION - Rafael Nadal d. Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal is my tip to win this week in Madrid beating Novak Djokovic in the final.  His win over the world number one in Monte-Carlo would have been a confidence booster but I still think he has a lot to prove as Djokovic was mentally and emotionally drained in that final.  However Nadal's form has been so impressive on the clay this year that I expect him to be dominant in Madrid this week.

The men's draw will kick off on Sunday and you can view my full predictions here.

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