So far it has been plain sailing for Nadal who skipped a huge portion of the hard court season after retiring in the Australian Open with a thigh/hip injury. He made his triumphant return for Spain in the Davis Cup (yes, on clay) and since then has gone unbeaten, chewing his way through the Monte Carlo and Barcelona trophies.
So who is to say that he won’t be chewing the corners of the Madrid Open title once more, as he looks for a sixth title? The head to heads suggest no-one.
Nadal’s Path to the Final (Ranking/Seeding)
R2: Gael Monfils (Nadal leads H2H: 13-2)
R3: Diego Schwartzman  (Nadal leads H2H 4-0)
QF: Dominic Thiem  (Nadal leads H2H 6-2)
SF: Juan Martin Del Potro  (Nadal leads H2H 9-5)
While it would be a touch harsh to say that Zverev has yet to live up to his potential, at least as far as Slams are concerned, he already has two Masters under his belt, and is not that bad on the dirt. He made his debut at the event last year, making it to the quarter-final before carrying that form through to beat Novak Djokovic for the Rome Masters crown.
Dimitrov’s clay court season has been successful enough with a Monte Carlo semi-final and a bit of a bad tempered quarter-final in Barcelona, and having made it to at least the quarter-finals back in 2015 so he has good form here.
After his great Sunshine Double run, winning Indian Wells, and reaching the semi-final in Miami, Del Potro has wisely rested up and skipped the early part of the clay court swing ahead of the Masters double-header leading into Roland Garros.
He has been as far as the semi-finals twice in Madrid but that was some time ago, so a lot will depend on how rusty he is on the dirt.
Del Potro’s Path to the Final
R2: Damir Dzumhur (Del Potro leads H2H 1-0)
R3: Tomas Berdych  (H2H tied 5-5)
QF: Kevin Anderson  (Del Potro leads H2H 7-0)
SF: Rafael Nadal  (Nadal leads H2H 9-5)
F: Alexander Zverev  (Del Potro leads H2H 2-0)
The Mutua Madrid Open takes place between 6-13 May (BST +1 hour).
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