Eight men remain in Madrid ahead of Friday’s action. Rafael Nadal remains the firm favourite to lift the title. However, the likes of Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud have looked impressive so far this week and will be hoping to mount a challenge to Nadal’s dominance on clay. We take a look at who should make their way into the final four in our ATP Madrid quarterfinal predictions.
ATP Madrid Quarterfinal Predictions
Dominic Thiem vs John Isner
It will come as a relief to tennis fans across the world that Dominic Thiem appears to be back to his best in Madrid. The Austrian has struggled since winning his first Grand Slam in New York last year. However, he has looked very good so far this week and seems well placed to mount another challenge at Roland Garros in a few weeks time. He is one of the top three players on the men’s tour on clay and will like his chances at this tournament too if he can keep his level up.
By contrast, John Isner is not a fan of the clay and has little success on the surface in his career. He has advanced to this stage in Madrid on the back of some incredible serving, but will need to do more than that to beat an opponent of Thiem’s quality. Isner’s serve will keep him in this match if it is firing, but Thiem is too good on clay and has too many weapons at his disposal for the American to do any more than stay with Thiem for a while.
Prediction: Thiem in 2
Casper Ruud vs Alexander Bublik
Alexander Bublik is quietly putting together a breakout year in 2021. The Kazakh is enjoying a career-high ranking of #44 and has played some brilliant tennis so far this year. He has an immense array of shots at his disposal and can be a problem for anyone on his day. His problem in the past has been a lack of consistency and he is often guilty of losing interest in matches. We haven’t seen much of that this year and that is a big factor in his steady rise in recent months. Bublik is competent on all surfaces and will be happy with his draw in Madrid so far.
However, he now faces one of the in-form clay court stars in the men’s game in Casper Ruud. The Norwegian is set to debut inside the Top 20 on the back of his solid performance in Madrid. Ruud is a product of the Rafael Nadal Academy so it is no surprise he is more than capable on clay. He did very well to end Tsitsipas’ run on the red dirt in the last round and will like his chances of advancing here. Bublik is a tricky customer, but I think Ruud has enough to get through this match.
Prediction: Ruud in 2
Cristian Garin vs Matteo Berrettini
Christian Garin has found his form again in Madrid and looks like a real threat to the tournament favourites given his level of play so far this week. He has already lifted five trophies on clay but is yet to make a statement in the bigger clay tournaments on the men’s tour. Madrid is his chance to do just that and he will surely be determined to make the most of that opportunity.
In his way is Matteo Berrettini. The big-serving Italian has looked very good over the last few weeks, lifting a title in Belgrade before making this run in Madrid. His serve-plus-one forehand is an immense weapon on any surface and he has deployed it to great effect so far this week in Spain. He will need to do so again in this match to have a chance as Garin is a better mover and far more potent on clay than Berrettini is. This could go the distance, but I think the Chilean has enough to get through this match-up.
Prediction: Garin in 3
Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev
Zverev did well to come through a close contest against Dan Evans in the last round in Madrid. He has served well and been strong off both wings so far this week. He is also capable of beating anyone in the world when on his game. As such, he will surely like his chances against Nadal even if the Spaniard is almost unbeatable on clay. Zverev has the court coverage and athleticism to give Nadal problems, but must be aggressive if is to push the Spaniard in this one.
Nadal looks as imperious as ever on clay. He lifted another red dirt title in Barcelona recently and is looking to add a sixth Madrid title to his collection come Sunday. The Spaniard’s prowess on clay is well-documented and we know what to expect from him when he is at his best. if his incredible forehand is firing and he can serve well then he is pretty much unbeatable on clay. If not, we may well have a brilliant match on our hands. Either way Nadal should come through this match and take one step closer to yet another clay court title.
Prediction: Nadal in 2
Main Photo from Getty.