Day 3 of the Mutua Madrid Open is stacked with enticing matches. Fabio Fognini takes to the court for the first time since his Monte Carlo triumph, David Ferrer continues his farewell tour, and Diego Schwartzman and Marco Cecchinato, former French Open quarter- and semifinalists respectively, face off.
ATP Mutua Madrid Open Day 3 Predictions
Fabio Fognini vs Kyle Edmund
Fognini finally proved not only his skill, but also his ability to reign in his emotions long enough to win a top-tier title at the Monte Carlo Masters. Provided he is not physically hampered, he is likely to advance here. Edmund’s own run in Monte Carlo was cut short by injury. Provided he stays fit, his ferocious forehand could bludgeon even Fognini into submission. The slower surface will also allow Edmund more time to wind up and hit big with his most significant weapon. With both physically out of sorts, look for Fognini to display his swashbuckling style and variety in a straight sets win.
Prediction: Fognini in 2
Diego Schawartzman vs Marco Cecchinato
Cecchinato, last year’s surprise French Open semifinalist, handily dispatched Schwartzman in the final of Buenos Aires earlier this year. In that match, Schwartzman showed little of the famed fighting spirit that propelled him as high as #11 in the ATP rankings. Clay is a natural fit for Schwartzman, and he has many times shown an ability to cause even the mightiest of clay courters trouble. Last year he was the only man to take a set off Rafael Nadal at the French Open. Schwartzman has yet to find his feet in 2019, but a deep run in Madrid is as good a place as any to start.
Prediction: Schwartzman in 3
David Ferrer vs Roberto Bautista Agut
Ferrer has again been blessed with a sentimentally rewarding, if physically demanding, matchup. In Barcelona he fell to his old friend and rival Rafael Nadal. Now, he faces Roberto Bautista Agut, another fellow Spaniard. Bautista Agut is the favorite. He has twice beaten Novak Djokovic in 2019 and his clean-hitting, baseline-grinding game–reminiscent of Ferrer’s own–will be a tough matchup for Ferrer. It is hard to pick against the gritty soon-to-be-retired Ferrer pulling an upset, but Bautista Agut is likely to prevail.
Prediction: Bautista Agut in 3
Stan Wawrinka vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert
Wawrinka has yet to fully return to form after his injury struggles. His start and stop successes — intermittent big wins, regular early tournament exits — have yet to cohere into either a narrative of decline, or one of resurgence. Clay suits Wawrinka. He has plenty of time to wind up and deploy his trademark groundstrokes. His 2015 French Open final against Djokovic remains one of the most re-watchable displays of extreme power on clay. Herbert has play his way through qualifying with a gutsy win over Robin Haase. He is also a highly successful doubles player, which adds variety and feel to his game. Wawrinka’s movement is his weakest point, but he should have little trouble finding his groove and dispatching the Frenchman.
Prediction: Wawrinka in 2.