The semifinals of the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open feature the three best clay court players in the world and a surging Stefanos Tsitsipas. Here are our Madrid Open Semifinal Predictions.
ATP Mutua Madrid Open Semifinal Predictions
Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem
Djokovic has reached the semifinals in Madrid, but his form is still uncertain. He lost early in Indian Wells, and Miami and came up short against Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo. Djokovic remains untested in Madrid. Marin Cilic, his slated quarterfinal opponent was forced out of the tournament prematurely with food poisoning.
Thiem by contrast had to fight past an inspired Roger Federer in three tight sets saving two match points along the way. The trademark power and point construction that Thiem used to subdue Federer in the finals of Indian Wells and Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of Barcelona was not enough against Federer’s attacking tennis in Madrid. Thiem adapted his game and aimed for quicker, more aggressive points.
Thiem’s has proven his skills on clay in the last three seasons. In his match against Federer he showed that he is not only the second best clay court player on tour thus far in 2019, but that he is also a fully matured winner capable of switching tactics in the middle of the match to find a way to win. Especially against players like Federer, Thiem has looked lost when his big shots balloon beyond the baseline. In his quarterfinal, he displayed the intelligence and nerve necessary to win big matches against exceptional competition. Also of note is that, while Djokovic leads their head to head 5-2, Thiem has won their last two encounters and both of those took place on clay.
Thiem in 2.
Rafael Nadal vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
In his own words, after his quarterfinal dismantling of Stan Wawrinka Nadal assessed his performance as “ [his] best match on clay this season.” The last time he played Stefanos Tsitsipas, he blasted him away on a hard court dropping only six games in three sets. Nadal’s form has not been perfect on clay, but throughout Madrid, his level has risen, and he displayed vintage aggression and confidence against Wawrinka.
Wawrinka played well, but when Nadal is in form and confident on clay there is no player in the world who can slow him down, much less stop him. Tsitsipas did well to win his tense three set encounter against Alexander Zverev. The level was high for the entirety of the match and it was fine mental margins at crucial moments that governed the momentum swings. Tsitsipas has gone from height to height in 2019 and his serve which still has a slightly awkward ball-toss and sometimes leaves him in a compromised position after, has benefitted from extra pace. Some of his hardest in Madrid have been almost 140mph, zipping through the thin, high altitude air.
Tsitsipas’ decision to play doubles at all of the masters 1000 tournaments this year has also ensured that his net game is in top shape, even if he may find it hard to keep his legs fresh. Directly after his win against Zverev he immediately took to court to contest the doubles semifinal. The biggest serves, the hardest groundstrokes, the quickest feet, and the cleverest net play will not save Tsitsipas against a rampaging Nadal hungry for a first clay title of 2019.
Nadal in 2.