ATP Madrid Masters Preview: Nadal, Alcaraz Return, Sinner The Favorite?

by Staff | April 23rd, 2024, 9:58 am

The first combined Masters on clay gets underway today at the Madrid Masters. In its second year of its new expanded 96-draw, 12-day format, players will know they are a month from the start of the French Open.

The high-altitude event has again attracted a stellar field led by Spanish stars Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz who return off injury.

Nadal, a 5-time champion, makes his return for the first time in two years while Alcaraz is scheduled to make his European clay debut after missing Monte Carlo and Barcelona with a right forearm injury.

With the Spaniards a question mark and Novak Djokovic skipping the event, world No. 2 Jannik Sinner is the co-favorite to win the Madrid title with 2-time defending Alcaraz, then the in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.

Top seeds are: 1 Jannik Sinner, 2 Carlos Alcaraz, 3 Daniil Medvedev, 4 Alexander Zverev, 5 Casper Ruud, 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 7 Andrey Rublev, 8 Hubert Hurkacz, 9 Grigor Dimitrov, 10 Alex De Minaur, 11 Holger Rune, 12 Taylor Fritz, 13 Ugo Humbert, 14 Ben Shelton, 15 Tommy Paul, 16 Karen Khachanov

Seeds: 1 Sinner, 5 Ruud, 9 Dimitrov, 16 Khachanov, 19 Mannarino, 22 Jarry, 29 Norrie, 32 Thompson
Floaters: Auger Aliassime, Sonego, Kecmanovic, Nishioka, Hanfmann, Zhang, Mensik
Notable openers: Yoshihito Nishioka-Felix Auger Aliassime, Zhizhen Zhang-Miomir Kecmanovic, Alex Michaelson-Joao Fonseca
Projected 3R matches: 1 Sinner – 32 Thompson, 22 Jarry – 16 Khachanov, 9 Dimitrov – 19 Mannarino, 29 Norrie – 5 Ruud
Notes: Jannik Sinner will like his draw early but late could have threats come in the form of Casper Ruud and Grigor Dimitrov, who are both in form. Sinner could also be tested by big men Nicolas Jarry or Karen Khachanov, otherwise the Italian will be a strong favorite in all his matches in this section. Alex Michelson and Joao Fonseca should be an interesting battle of young talents.

Seeds: 3 Medvedev, 6 Tsitsipas, 10 De Minaur, 14 Shelton, 17 Bublik, 20 Tiafoe, 25 Korda, 30 Lehecka
Floaters: Nadal, Ofner, Ruusuvuori, Arnaldi, O’Connell, Koepfer, Machac
Notable openers: Darwin Blanch-Rafael Nadal
Projected 3R matches: 3 Medvedev – 25 Korda, 17 Bublik – 14 Shelton, 10 De Minaur – 20 Tiafoe, 30 Lehecka – 6 Tsitsipas
Notes: Rafael Nadal is back but the king of clay hasn’t won in Madrid since 2017, and odds are very long that he can win No. 6 in the weeks ahead. Nadal, unseeded, will open again new American star Darwin Blanch with a rematch with Alex De Minaur looming. The Australian knocked out Nadal from Barcelona last week. Overall, the section is awfully deep with Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Sebastian Korda, Ben Shelton, Frances Tiafoe, De Minaur, Jiri Lehecka and Tomas Machac, plus Nadal! Tsitsipas is the slight favorite given his recent result, but it will be a war for any player to get through. Someone will, though.

Seeds: 4 Zverev, 8 Hurkacz, 12 Fritz, 15 Paul, 18 Baez, 21 Cerundolo, 26 Etcheverry, 31 Fils
Floaters: Coric, Shapovalov, Altmaier, Van Assche, Karatsev, Marozsan, Draper, Monfils
Notable openers: Facundo Diaz Acosta-Denis Shapovalov
Projected 3R matches: 8 Hurkacz – 31 Fils, 18 Baez – 12 Fritz, 15 Paul – 21 Cerundolo, 26 Etcheverry – 4 Zverev
Notes: An open section led by two-time winner Alexander Zverev. The German, though, hasn’t made a final this year and went just 2-2 in his first two clay events. Taylor Fritz and Arthur Fils could surprise and Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Francisco Cerundolo, Fabian Marozsan are adept on the clay, but can they rise to a Zverev challenge?

Seeds: 7 Rublev, 11 Rune, 13 Humbert, 23 Struff, 24 Griekspoor, 27 Davidovich Fokina, 28 Musetti
Floaters: Evans, Eubanks, Van De Zandschulp, Popyrin, Safiullin, Shevchenko, Seyboth Wild, Shang, Navone
Notable openers: Botic Van De Zandschulp-Christopher Eubanks
Projected 3R matches: 7 Rublev – 27 Davidovich Fokina, 24 Griekspoor – 11 Rune, 13 Humbert – 23 Struff, 28 Musetti – 2 Alcaraz
Notes: How is Carlos Alcaraz’s right forearm? That’s the question. Given the 2-time defending champion’s draw, he’ll need to be at full strength right from the go. He could open against Alexander Shevchenko, then Lorenzo Musetti with Jen-Lennard Struff and Holger Rune looming.

The projected quarterfinals:
1 Sinner – 5 Ruud
3 Medvedev – 6 Tsitsipas
8 Hurkacz – 4 Zverev
7 Rublev – 2 Alcaraz

Former champions: Nadal(5), Zverev(2), Alcaraz(2)
Former finalists: Tsitsipas, Struff

Last year, (1) Carlos Alcaraz defeated (LL) Jan Lennard Struff 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

2023 Carlos Alcaraz d Jan Lennard Struff 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
2022 Carlos Alcaraz d Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-1
2021 Alexander Zverev d Matteo Berrettini 6-7(8), 6-4, 6-3
2019 Novak Djokovic d Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4
2018 Alexander Zverev d Dominic Thiem 6-4,, 6-4
2017 Rafael Nadal d Dominic Thiem 7-6(8) 6-4
2016 Novak Djokovic d Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
2015 Andy Murray d Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2
2014 Rafael Nadal d Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 RET
2013 Rafael Nadal d Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4

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2 Comments for ATP Madrid Masters Preview: Nadal, Alcaraz Return, Sinner The Favorite?

skeezer Says:

Always look forward to this event and a great turnout of players. Best ball persons ever.

Alison hodge Says:

Rafas not the player he was, lost a step now, and the youngling are beginning to come through, having said that, they don’t call him the king of clay for nothing, and with nothing left to prove, these players will need to be on their A game to beat him, we’ll see….

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