Day 4 of the ATP Madrid Open will feature a blockbuster second-round match, as former champion Alexander Zverev battles Kei Nishikori.
We have predictions of all matches happening on Wednesday, with four of them in this article. The other matches are split between two articles, one featuring Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz and the other featuring Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Benoit Paire.
ATP Madrid Open Day 4 Predictions
Daniil Medvedev vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Head-to-head: first meeting
Daniil Medvedev will make his much-anticipated return to clay court tennis after making full recovery from COVID-19. The Russian, seeded second, missed close to three weeks of action after returning a positive coronavirus test in Monte Carlo in April.
Having received a bye in the opening round, Medvedev prepares for what should be a fascinating second-round match against the flamboyant Davidovich Fokina. The young Spaniard made a broadly impressive start on the clay swing with a maiden quarterfinal appearance in a Masters 1000 tournament at Monte Carlo. Although he fizzled out in Barcelona, he produced another stellar run in Estoril. He beat seasoned veterans like Pablo Andujar and Jeremy Chardy before falling to Ramos Vinolas in the semifinals.
Medvedev tends to be a pacesetter in his matches. He thrives playing on the front foot, with his flat hitting and lunging defenses. But it is difficult to gauge his condition after missing for over a month. This should be a real acid test, and I think he has so much in his locker to sink Davidovich Fokina.
Prediction: Medvedev in 3
Albert Ramos Vinolas vs Federico Delbonis
Head-to-head: Ramos Vinolas 4-6 Delbonis
Albert Ramos Vinolas had developed a reputation of cracking under big match pressure. His twin defeats to the Cerundolo brothers in Cordoba and Buenos Aires are cases in point.
However, less than 48 hours after capturing his third career title in Estoril, Ramos Vinolas fought off his inconsistency demons and summoned the gumption, and shots, to beat Taylor Fritz in a close three-setter.
The Spanish left-hander has a modest record in Madrid over the years. But he is playing with supreme confidence right now. His opponent Federico Delbonis rode his luck a few times on Monday as he came back from a 3-6 0-4 deficit to beat Pablo Carreno Busta. The Argentine should benefit from an extra day’s rest. And I am unsure if Ramos Vinolas has anything left in the tank.
Prediction: Delbonis in 2
Dan Evans vs John Millman
Head-to-head: Evans 1-0 Millman
Evans sits comfortably at a career-high ranking of World No. 26, thanks in part to his tremendous week in Monte Carlo. He arrived at the Principality with one of the worst records on clay for a player inside the top 100. But Evans showed his true mettle. Victories over Lajovic, Hubert Hurkacz, Novak Djokovic, and David Goffin earned him an unlikely berth in the semifinals where he lost to Stefanos Tstitsipas. The Brit has found renewed belief that he could actually make an instant impact on clay.
In a clash of styles against John Millman, Evans should be the favorite. The Australian’s counterpunching abilities are well documented, but the real game-changer is the slice that Evans employs to smother his opponents.
Prediction: Evans in 3
Alexander Zverev vs Kei Nishikori
Head-to-head: Zverev 2-1 Nishikori
Former champion Alexander Zverev will hope to rekindle his early-season form. He faces Kei Nishikori in a marquee second-round match. Zverev has been slow off the blocks since the beginning of the claycourt swing. He was perturbed by a debilitating elbow injury that affected his service motion and overhead balls. But he is past his injury nightmare and should be fit to compete.
Nishikori, on his part, is working his way up the ladder. He has taken some encouraging steps, with a third-round showing in Barcelona where he pushed eventual champion, Rafael Nadal, to three sets. After pulling out of Estoril due to an abductor injury, he showed no sign of discomfort in dispatching Karen Khachanov in Madrid.
Zverev has admitted he will remain vigilant when he plays or practices, in order to minimize chances of overstretching his upper joint. This limits the German from playing at his absolute peak, and Nishikori should feel the knock of opportunity here.
Prediction: Nishikori in 3
Main Photo from Getty.