Barcelona Open Day 4 Predictions Including Rafael Nadal vs David Ferrer

Assuming the weather is amenable, the third round at the Barcelona Open will be played in full on Thursday. The competition for a place in the quarterfinals looks set to be fierce, with a number of big names taking to the court, including both the king of clay and his heir apparent. But who will reach the last eight and who will fall by the wayside?

ATP Barcelona Day 4 Predictions

Kei Nishikori vs Felix Auger-Aliassime

Head-to-head: first meeting

What may prove to be a spectacular duel will get the day started on Rafael Nadal Court. Japan’s Nishikori, the champion in 2014 and 2015, despite a fast start to the season which saw him lift the title in Brisbane before battling into the Australian Open quarterfinals, has not inspired much confidence with his play since leaving Melbourne. His second-round loss to Pierre-Hugues Herbert in Monte Carlo was just the latest in an increasingly long line of disappointing results.

On the other hand, the young Canadian Auger-Aliassime is enjoying one of the finest periods of his career. After a disappointing January, the highly-touted teen has risen from the outskirts of the top 100 to break into the world’s top 30 in just three months, highlighted by a magnificent run to the Miami Open semifinals. It certainly looks like the patient approach designed by his team in the last couple of years is paying off. And his heavy topspin forehand and solid backhand, combined with impressive athleticism, give him the tools to do real damage on the dirt.

Prediction: Auger-Aliassime in three
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Rafael Nadal vs David Ferrer

Head-to-head: Nadal 25-6 Ferrer

Nobody has looked more impressive so far in Barcelona than Ferrer, who dropped just eight games in total in breezing past the serve-volleying Mischa Zverev and Australian Open semifinalist Lucas Pouille. Equally, however, no one has beaten him more times in his long career than his compatriot Nadal. That said, the world #2 did have to survive an early scare against the big-hitting Leonardo Mayer, rallying from a set down to claim a 6-7 6-4 6-2 victory.

Ferrer will have the added encouragement heading into this clash that this is the penultimate tournament of his career. The knowledge of the impending end has certainly looked to be inspiring him to greater heights in Catalonia. But there is a reason that the 2013 Roland Garros finalist is set to retire at next month’s Madrid Open. His body has broken down with alarming frequency in recent years, and it is hard to envisage withstanding a physical battle against the 11-time champion?

Prediction: Nadal in two
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Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Jan-Lennard Struff

Head-to-head: Tsitsipas 2-0 Struff

The Greek star made his first final on tour in this very tournament twelve months ago in what was the breakthrough moment in the season that made his name on tour. But that leaves him defending 300 points this time around. At times, it has proven hard for youngsters to keep their emotions in check when facing such a scenario for the first time. Therein lies the chance for Struff, who’s been playing solid tennis lately against the tour’s young guns.

However, there is no doubting the Greek’s quality, as shown by his run to the Australian Open semifinals and the final at the Dubai Tennis Championship earlier this season. His ability to combine soft touch with fearsomely powerful hitting makes him a dangerous opponent for anyone. Though he may need to be at his best to soak up Struff’s offence, expect Tsitsipas to collect another scalp in Barcelona.

Prediction: Tsitsipas in three
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Dominic Thiem vs Jaume Munar

Head-to-head: Thiem 1-0 Munar

With the exception of his unexpected Indian Wells title, Thiem has flattered to deceive so far in 2019. Shockingly, the French Open runner up has gone a lowly 4-3 on dirt for the year, with losses to Diego Schwartzman, Laslo Djere and Dusan Lajovic. Contrarily, the arrow is pointing up for Munar, who is enjoying some purple patch. The young Spaniard has already collected impressive clay-court wins over the likes of Alexander Zverev, Fabio Fognini or Marco Cecchinato. Moreover, the 21-year-old Spaniard will have the crowd on his side. However, not for nothing is Thiem widely considered to be the heir to the great Nadal’s clay-court throne. Expect him to have too much for Munar, just.

Prediction: Thiem in three

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