ATP Barcelona Day 4 Predictions Including Rafael Nadal vs Kei Nishikori

Rafael Nadal in action at the ATP Barcelona Open.

Day four at the ATP Barcelona Open promises to provide another day of exciting clay-court tennis with a number of star names set to take to the court in Catalonia. There are eight matches on the slate and, as ever, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match, including Roberto Bautista Agut vs Jannik Sinner. But who will reach the quarterfinals?

ATP Barcelona Open Day Four Predictions

Albert Ramos Vinolas vs Andrey Rublev

Head-to-head: Rublev 2-1 Ramos Vinolas

Andrey Rublev, who received a first-round bye, was not at his fluent best in his opening victory over Federico Gaio, but he still managed to win comfortably in straight sets. The Russian, who has been imperious at ATP 500 level and reached his first Masters 1000 final in Monte Carlo last week, will surely have his sights on winning the title this week.

Albert Ramos Vinolas, meanwhile, had to fight hard to pick up a win over Holger Rune in the first round in a match featuring plenty of breaks of serve and unforced errors. However, despite losing the first three games of the first set in the last 32 against the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, the Spaniard rallied to win six games in a row to claim the first set. He won the second set by the same score to complete a 6-3 6-3 win.

That demonstrated once again that despite not possessing a major weapon in his game, the Spaniard is a difficult man to beat, particularly on the clay, thanks to his consistency from the back of the court. That said, the Russian has more weapons. Ramos Vinolas is good at absorbing pace in the baseline exchanges and has the quality to challenge the Russian, but expect Rublev to come through in the end, even if he has to go the distance.

Prediction: Rublev in 3
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Alex de Minaur vs Stefanos Tsitsipas

Head-to-head: Tsitsipas 4-0 de Minaur

Stefanos Tsitsipas showed no signs of mental or physical fatigue after his run to the title in Monte Carlo last week, easily defeating the in-form Jaume Munar for the loss of only two games in his opener at the ATP Barcelona Open. The Greek has been particularly impressive on serve and also looks to have made improvements to his return of serve, which had been the weakest part of his game. Tsitsipas is certainly brimming with confidence at the moment and it looks like he will be very tough to beat this week.

Alex de Minaur, in contrast, has not been in the best form recently. However, the Australian managed to beat Alexander Bublik in straight sets in the second round, after receiving a bye. There is no doubt that de Minaur has all the attributes to succeed on clay, thanks to his exceptional court-coverage and solid defence. But the Australian lacks a major weapon and often finds himself on the defensive during points. Against a player of Tsitispas’ quality, that seems likely to be a fatal flaw once again.

Prediction: Tsitsipas in 2
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Bernabe Zapata Miralles vs Pablo Carreno Busta

Head-to-head: first meeting

Bernabe Zapata Miralles was involved in one of the many dramatic moments on day three when his opponent Fabio Fognini was defaulted for verbal abuse at 4-4 in the second set, having been bagelled by the Spaniard in the first set. The qualifier bossed the Italian in the opening set and, after coming through the qualifying, he will surely be full of confidence. His performances so far this week have certainly suggested that he could establish himself as a tour-level regular.

Pablo Carreno Busta, despite arguably being more comfortable playing on hard courts, is enjoying another good clay-court season so far. The Spaniard has already won the ATP Andalucía Open and he backed that up by reaching the third round in Monte Carlo. He started his ATP Barcelona Open campaign by beating Jordan Thompson for the loss of only four games and he will unquestionably be the firm favourite heading into this encounter.

Although he does not boast massive power, Carreno Busta is a very hard player to break down from the back of the court and he is also very accurate off the ground. Zapata Miralles has enjoyed an excellent week in Catalonia, one he will surely look to build on moving forward, but it would be a major surprise if he were to get the better of his more experienced compatriot here. Expect Carreno Busta to move on as a straight-sets winner.

Prediction: Carreno Busta in 2
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Rafael Nadal vs Kei Nishikori

Head-to-head: Nadal 11-2 Nishikori

Rafael Nadal underperformed in his opening win over Ilya Ivashka, at least according to the high standards he has set throughout his career. The Spaniard struggled to find his first serve and his timing, dropping the opening set before rallying to win in three. However, the test that Ivashka provided could stand the Spaniard in good stead as it forced him to produce his best tennis and, as he has so many times in the past, it seems reasonable to expect Nadal to improve as the clay-court season continues.

Kei Nishikori, meanwhile, has got two good wins under his belt this week against Guido Pella and Cristian Garin. The Japanese is a two-time champion at the ATP Barcelona Open, with only Nadal having won more titles than him this side of the turn of the millennium. And, after a difficult couple of seasons in which he was afflicted by injury, Nishikori looks to be getting back to his best.

The Japanese is one of the best movers on the ATP Tour and possesses a backhand that is amongst the most effective, both on the offensive and defensive, in the game. However, Nishikori’s serve can be exploited by the better returners in the game. Expect Nadal to regularly exert pressure on Nishikori’s serve and to claim a straight-sets win thanks to his greater power, both from the line and off the ground.

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