2012 Madrid Masters: Rafael Nadal Faces Nikolay Davydenko

Shane LambertAnalyst IIMay 9, 2012

Rafael Nadal
Rafael NadalDavid Ramos/Getty Images

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will be in action on Wednesday as the Spaniard is scheduled to face Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in the second round of the 2012 Madrid Masters.

Davydenko, who is currently ranked 54th in the world, has enjoyed a fair amount of success against Nadal over the years. Entering into today's match, the Russian holds a winning record of 6-4 against Nadal including a four-match winning streak dating back to the 2009 Shanghai Masters.

However, it must be pointed out that all six of Davydenko's victories against Nadal have come on the hard court surface. The two players have met three times on clay and in each of those matches, Nadal came away with the victory and with only one dropped set over those three matches.

Davydenko, a former world No. 3, has definitely seen better days, but his short-term form has been atrocious. So far in 2012, Davydenko has lost to Flavio Cipolla, Marco Chiudinelli and Robert Farah.

If the Russian keeps dropping matches to that kind of competition then it may not be too long before he is completely out of the Masters draws—at least the draws that have fewer entrants.

The loss to Farah is particularly insightful as it was on clay and it was just a week ago. At the time of their match, Farah was ranked just 210th, although he gained 20 spots with May 7th's update.

But if Davydenko can't sweep a player like Farah aside on clay then what real shot does the Russian have against the reigning King of Clay?

One sportsbook has Davydenko at 22/1 (bet365) to beat Nadal, but the world No. 2 does not appear to be remotely threatened here despite the losing record against his upcoming opponent.

Prediction: Nadal in straight sets.