A resurgent Novak Djokovic will take on Stefanos Tsitsipas for the second time. The young Greek has already defeated Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in 2019, but can he do the same to the Serb, against whom he has a winning head-to-head to claim his first Masters 1000 title?
ATP Mutua Madrid Open Final Prediction
The Surging Serb
Since his Australian Open triumph, Djokovic has struggled to find form. He lost to players he usually beats like Philipp Kohlschreiber and Roberto Bautista Agut. He also failed to go deeper than the quarterfinals of any event. But Djokovic has been rock solid in Madrid. His win against Dominic Thiem in the semifinals demonstrated his unerring ability to soak up an opponent’s power and put extra balls in play.
The Greek Threat
Tsitsipas defeated Nadal by committing to an aggressive game. Nadal’s power and spin make this kind of tennis hard to execute, especially for players with one-handed backhands. Nadal delights in deploying his looping lefty forehand deep into the backhand corner forcing a single hander to hit high bouncing balls. Tsitsipas stood tall on the baseline and passed the backhand test. Djokovic will provide an entirely different challenge. The Serb’s backhand, with which he can change direction at any moment, is one of the most solid shots in tennis.
Tsitsipas will have to hang with Djokovic in extended rallies. The young Greek will benefit from the fact that he is now eliminated from the doubles tournament. His defeat of Nadal is made all the more impressive by the fact that he was involved in a lengthy three-setter against Zverev the day before.
Both Djokovic and Tsitsipas will be desperate to get their hands on the trophy, which would do much to boost their confidence ahead of the French Open. Djokovic may have lost their previous meeting and been in questionable form coming into the Madrid Open whilst Tsitsipas is in the form of his life. But it is still hard to look past the world #1. Tsitsipas seems to be in real danger of running out of steam after a taxing run over the last two weeks and that is the last thing he can afford against Djokovic.
Prediction: Djokovic in three