First of all, tennis-pulse.com would like to apologize to You, our readers, for not being active this week. Aside from the recap of yesterday’s semifinal between Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov, which you can find here, we didn’t publish a single article.That’s why we’d like to make up for that with this recap of what has already happened and a preview of what is going to happen.
I decided that a round-by-round concept will suit the recap of the Madrid Masters best. So, here we go:
The top eight seeds got byes into the second round, but there were some highly entertaining clashes anyway. Tsitsipas after being the second best player after Nadal during the last two weeks almost died of exhaustion and lost against Evgeny Donskoy, Pablo Cuevas showed he can still play on the surface and upset 12th seed Jack Sock in the hopes of turning around a pretty bad year for his standards. Novak Djokovic straight-setted Kei Nishikori causing thousands of people around the world to think he’s back to his peak and excellent clay-courters like Lucas Pouille and Pablo Carreno Busta were eliminated.
Rafael Nadal destroyed Gael Monfils while his biggest clay rival from last year Dominic Thiem struggled heavily winning a close affair against Federico Delbonis 7-5 in the third. 3rd seed Grigor Dimitrov lost in three sets to Milos Raonic and Novak Djokovic played much worse than in his first round encounter to lose also in three to the British no.1 Kyle Edmund.
A few upsets happened here, with Shapovalov winning an all-Canadian affair against Raonic, Edmund capitalizing on his second round win to beat David Goffin. Probably the most surprising of them all was Dusan Lajovic, who was non-existent this year (won just a game against Djokovic in Monte Carlo), defeating Juan Martin Del Potro in a third set tie-breaker. Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem struggled against Borna Coric. The Croat served for the match in the second set but ultimately went on to lose in three.
Dominic Thiem said earlier in the tournament that if anyone is going to beat Nadal this year (on clay) it’s gonna be in Madrid or Rome because that’s where the conditions don’t suit the Spaniard that well. That was exactly what happened as the Austrian played probably his best match of the year to defy the odds and defeat Nadal 7-5, 6-3. This win also means that on Monday Roger Federer will be back to the top of the ATP rankings. Well, at least for one week. Shapovalov defeated Edmund in a very tight affair, Kevin Anderson advanced beating Lajovic and Alexander Zverev straight-setted John Isner, even despite the fact that the American had his 1st serve percentage at around 90% for the most of match.
Kevin Anderson was no match for Dominic Thiem’s blistering clay-court game. The Austrian was super high on confidence after his quarterfinal win and it showed during this encounter as he crushed the South-African 6-4, 6-2. You can read a detailed recap of the second semifinal here.
Preview of the final
Thiem and Zverev will meet today at around 18:30 local time for the sixth time in their careers. The Austrian won their first three encounters on clay in 2016 (Munich, Nice and Roland Garros). Later that year Zverev won their first hard court encounter in Beijing and Thiem took revenge for that on indoor hard-court in Rotterdam a year later. They haven’t played each other in over a year.
Both have to be extremely high on confidence, Thiem has just defeated Nadal who was on an unstoppable run of 50 sets won on clay in a row. Meanwhile, Zverev is riding an eight-matches winning streak (16 sets in a row) and is on an extraordinary run of great tournaments (Miami final, Monte Carlo semis, Munich won). Both performed stunning tennis in the semifinals.
The head-to-head says Thiem as he won each of their clay-court matches. However, I’m tempted to pick Alexander Zverev. Madrid Masters conditions seem to suit him well and his performance against Shapovalov was out of this world in my opinion.
A good excuse for not watching the final today doesn’t exist, it’s just your duty as a tennis fan! If I had to pick a winner, I would go with Zverev but I feel like 55% confident about that, the bookies find him as a slight underdog. The best advice is to see for yourself at half past six pm local time today.
If I had to pick: Alexander Zverev in three sets