Predicting the Men's Tennis Tournament in Madrid
The next big stop for the men on the road to Roland Garros is in Madrid this week.
Here are my predictions:
First quarter: Novak Djokovic shouldn't have much trouble getting to the round of 16. Once there, he will most likely face Stanislas Wawrinka, Jurgen Melzer or Feliciano Lopez. It won't matter who he faces because I don't see Djokovic having trouble with any of them.
In the quarters, Gilles Simon, Marcos Baghdatis or Janko Tipsarevic could be waiting. I think Simon will advance to the quarters, but Djokovic should have little problem advancing to the semis.
Second quarter: This section of the draw is loaded. Roger Federer will have his hands full in his first clay-court tournament of the season. Federer will have either Milos Raonic or David Nalbandian in his first match. I'm actually going to pick the huge upset, and say Raonic will knock off Federer. Viktor Troicki, Donald Young, Thomaz Bellucci or Richard Gasquet would be Raonic's next opponent.
On the bottom part of that section, Nicolas Almagro, Radek Stepanek, Bernard Tomic and David Ferrer are among the contenders. I like Ferrer and Raonic to meet in the quarters, with the Spaniard's experience and solid clay-court game proving the difference.
Who will win in Madrid?
Third quarter: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved into the fourth seed after Murray withdrew. It will be a very tough section for Tsonga and I don't see him making it through. Ryan Harrison could be Tsonga's first opponent. After that, he could have Alexandr Dolgopolov, Pablo Andujar or Andreas Seppi. I like Harrison to pull off the upset, and I think he will make it to the quarters.
John Isner is in the other part of this quarter, and he could meet Marin Cilic in his first match. Juan Martin Del Potro is also in this part of the draw. I like Del Potro to beat Isner and Harrison to make it to the semis.
Semifinalist: Del Potro
Fourth quarter: Rafael Nadal is starting to play incredible tennis again, but he will have a tough draw this week. He could face big-serving Ivo Karlovic in his first match. Nadal can sometimes struggle against the big servers, but I like him to get through that one. He could then have Fernando Verdasco in the next round. That should be a close match, but I simply think Nadal is playing too well right now.
Tomas Berdych, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Gael Monfils are all in the other part of this section. I think Berdych will advance to the quarters, but Nadal will have too much game for him.
Djokovic vs. Ferrer: This should be a long, hard-fought match. Ferrer has been playing well, but Djokovic is almost unbeatable these days. His mental toughness will once again carry him through it.
Winner: Djokovic in three sets
Del Potro vs. Nadal: Del Potro's serve could cause Nadal some trouble, but the Spaniard is just playing too well right now on his favorite surface.
Winner: Nadal in two sets
Djokovic vs. Nadal: It was a sign of things to come for Djokovic when he beat Nadal here last year in the final. It was just part of a very special year for the Serb. However, this year he hasn't been quite as strong, and Nadal will get his revenge in his home country.
Winner: Nadal in three sets
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