We're only to the quarterfinals at the Madrid Open, but the remaining matches are already must-see clashes.
I guess that tends to happen when Rafael Nadal, the best clay player in history, is only the No. 5 seed.
The world's top two players, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, have been eliminated in the tournament's return to red clay. But with a stacked field and several players at the peak of their games, the remaining battle for the "mini French Open" title should be full of scintillating action.
If that sounds like something you might be interested in, here's a look at the full schedule.
Madrid Open 2013 TV Schedule
|Monday, May 6||Men's 1st and 2nd Rounds||7 a.m.—5:30 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Tuesday, May 7||Men's 1st and 2nd Rounds||5 a.m.—4 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Wednesday, May 8||Men's 2nd Round||5 a.m.—4 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Thursday, May 9||Men's Round of 16||8 a.m.—5:30 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
|Friday, May 10||
9 a.m.—6 p.m.
6 p.m.—10 p.m.
|Saturday, May 11||
5 a.m.—9 a.m.
9:30 a.m.—3:30 p.m.
|Sunday, May 12||
7 a.m.—9 a.m.
10 a.m.—12:30 p.m.
*delayed coverage. Information courtesy of TennisChannel.com.
No. 15 Stanislas Wawrinka vs. No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Stanislas Wawrinka is on fire.
He began this year by taking world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to the brink in an instant classic at the Australian Open and continued that momentum by destroying then-No. 2 Andy Murray, 6-1, 6-2, at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
Last week, he thoroughly and clinically handled No. 4 David Ferrer in the finals of the Portugal Open.
Yesssss yessss yessss!!!! Really happy with the title!!!!!!!! @portugalopen !
Wawrinka is finally showcasing some of his immense potential, and after winning eight of the last nine games to defeat Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, he'll look to continue his burgeoning play against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The Frenchman has had the advantage between the two, winning three out of four career matches, but it has never been easy for either player.
They've met on clay three times. In 2011, Wawrinka won a third-round battle at the French Open in five sets. Last year, Tsonga got revenge in Paris—once again in five sets. And in April, Tsonga won the last two sets to upend Wawrinka in Monte Carlo.
If history is any indication, Friday's quarterfinal match is going to be close—and it's going to be the best of the day.
No. 3 Andy Murray vs. No. 6 Tomas Berdych
I'm guessing the Brit is looking forward to clay season being over.Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
After getting embarrassed by Wawrinka in Monte Carlo, he has struggled to make it this far in Madrid.
In the second round, he had loads of trouble with Florian Mayer's serve (12 aces for the German) en route to a 7-6(11), 7-6(3) win. On Thursday, he needed a 6-4, 7-6(6) final two sets to escape an upset bid by Gilles Simon.
Fortunately for Murray, Berdych has also shown some struggles in his two wins against Jerzy Janowicz and Kevin Anderson.
Murray has won two in a row and three of the last four against Berdych, but on clay, the Czech is 2-0, including a win at Monte Carlo last year.
No. 5 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 4 David Ferrer
It's tough to find a matchup better than this: Two players with similar styles who excel on clay battling it out for a spot in the semis in their home country.
It's just a shame it won't likely be hotly contested.
There are obviously question marks surrounding Nadal's health, but with every subsequent straight-set victory—which he has earned with ease in his two matches here—he looks more and more like his old, dominant self.
Will anyone beat Nadal?
Ferrer, meanwhile, not only needed three sets to get past veteran German Tommy Haas, but—much like every other player on this planet—he has had a miniscule amount of success against Rafa on clay.
The two have faced off on the surface 15 times throughout their careers, and Ferrer has won once—in 2004. Nadal has won 14 in a row and dropped just two sets during that span.
With Djokovic and Federer gone, and Murray struggling on his worst surface, Nadal is the clear favorite to win in Madrid for his third time. If Ferrer serves as anything more than a speed bump, it will be surprising.