Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Stan Wawrinka, owners of a combined 55 grand slam singles titles, are all in action on quarterfinal day at the Mutua Madrid Open. Elsewhere, Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on defending champion Alexander Zverev, former US Open champion Marin Cilic attempts to find form in 2019, and Indian Wells champion and former French Open finalist Dominic Thiem looks for his second victory over Federer this year. Here are our ATP Mutua Madrid Open Quarterfinal Predictions.
ATP Mutua Madrid Open Quarterfinal Predictions
Novak Djokovic vs Marin Cilic
Marin Cilic has beaten Novak Djokovic twice, once during Djokovic’s slow decline at the end of 2016 at the Paris Masters and once last year at Queens just before Djokovic’s full resurgence in late 2018. Djokovic has since claimed three victories against the Croat who has had a marked dip in form. Djokovic has been out of sorts since his Australian Open victory, but his level at Madrid has been high. Cilic has been far from his best, but his gritty three set win against an inspired Laslo Djere indicates he could trouble Djokovic. Expect two hotly contested sets with at least one tiebreak.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Zverev and Tsitsipas are both proven top contenders, but both have also been tipped as possible future world number ones. Their rivalry is in its early stages. They split their two previous meetings last year; Zverev winning in straight sets in Washington and Tsitsipas squeezing out a tight three set victory in the Rogers Cup. Aside from on court fireworks there has also been off court friction between Zverev and Tsitsipas. While Zverev has achieved a better career high ranking and has more big titles to his name, Tsitsipas has been the exponentially more consistent performer in the last six months. Zverev’s scratchy three set win against Herbert Hurkacz and Tsitsipas’ smooth win over Fernando Verdasco illustrate the difference in the level these two are currently displaying. Zverev is the defending Madrid champion, but Tsitsipas has the form and momentum at the moment.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 2
Rafael Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka
Wawrinka and Nadal have played 20 times. Wawrinka has only won three of those matches, and only one of his wins came on clay. Roger Federer reportedly calls Wawrinka “The Diesel” because it takes him time in tournaments and matches to warm up. At the 2016 US Open, he had to fight past Kyle Edmund in the early rounds and dropped the first set of the final against Novak Djokovic before his free-flowing game caught fire. Nadal’s relentlessness as a competitor and willingness to fight for every point makes it hard for Wawrinka to find the time in a match to play himself into perfect form. Even Nadal can be rocked back on his heels by clean, flat hitting as Fabio Fognini proved at the 2015 US Open. Wawrinka, however, is unlikely to find his game in time to slow Nadal’s momentum.
Prediction: Nadal in 2
Roger Federer vs Dominic Thiem
Match point down. Second serve. Federer is a whisper away from leaving Madrid. He wins the point by serve-and-volleying.
Federer’s total commitment to aggressive, all-court tennis even in tight moments was clear. Against Thiem, he will have to execute this game plan perfectly. Thiem played excellent hard-hitting tennis in Indian Wells, favoring power over placement, content to blast balls up the middle of the court forcing Federer back from his preferred position hugging the baseline. On the clay of Madrid, Thiem will have more time to line up his big shots and it will be easier for him to run down balls. If Federer can find a way to win against Thiem, he will enter into his semifinal match, even if it is against Novak Djokovic, brimming with confidence.
Thiem has been the second-best clay court player of the last two years and has reached the semifinals of the French Open or better every year since 2016. However, Thiem hasn’t been perfect so far in Madrid. He dropped the first set against Reilly Opelka and, despite a straight sets win against Monte Carlo champion Fabio Fognini, has yet to show the glistening game with which he won titles in Indian Wells and Barcelona.
Prediction: Federer in 3