2019 Madrid Masters Semi-Finals: Rafael Nadal vs Stefanos Tsitsipas, Preview and Prediction
Five-time champion Rafael Nadal takes on the young sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second semi-final of the Madrid Masters men’s singles championship.
This will be the fourth encounter between the two. The Spaniard has won all their three previous matches, and has in fact not even lost a set. The best that Tsitsipas has managed has been to take only one of those sets to the tie-breaker.
However, that should not at all mean that the match is expected to be a one-sided encounter. It has to be noted that though he may have lost to Nadal rather easily, he has faced the Spaniard in the later stages of the tournaments.
Both his matches last year, on the Barcelona clay court and Canadian Masters hard court, were summit clashes, which shows that the Greek youngster had got the better of many high profile players before running into the Spaniard. Even this year’s semi-final loss at the Australian Open happened after he had stunned Roger Federer in the quarter finals.
Moreover, he is a fast-rising player and with the dip in form of Alexander Zverev, it is Tsitsipas who can be rightly considered the best young player on the planet right now. He underlined that status by defeating the defending champion Zverev in the quarter finals. Though the German mounted a spirited fight back in the second set, Tsitsipas showed tremendous fortitude to throttle that challenge.
However one aspect of his game that Tsitsipas needs to urgently address before meeting Nadal is his second serve. When he lands his first serve in, his win percentage is pretty impressive. But his second serve has been quite weak and his opponents have taken advantage of that. Against Zverev, his second serve win percentage was a meagre 45 percent.
He will need to do much better on his serve if he has to have any chance against Nadal in the semi-final, who looked like his former dominant self against Wawrinka in the quarter final match. In a shockingly one-sided match, Nadal did not let the Swiss settle at all. He demolished any semblance of challenge by breaking him four times and giving away only three games in the match.
After such a performance, it is difficult to imagine Tsitsipas taking a set off Nadal, let alone win the match. But stranger things have happened on a tennis court.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in Straight SetsPublished 11 May 2019, 10:11 IST