The generation battle berths in Madrid
All the top players are gathered for the showdown in the Spanish Capital, Madrid. Roger Federer had skipped Monte Carlo and Barcelona, while Novak Djokovic took a break after losing in Monte Carlo.
At the Madrid Open, the top eight seeds do not have to play in the first round of the 64-player draw. However, some of them will face stiff challenges in their first outing in second round.
In the upper half of the draw, Djokovic will face the winner of the first round match between Grigor Dimitrov and a qualifier.
The seventh-seeded Juan Martin Del Potro is returning to the tour after a long absence and will take on the winner of an all-Serbian match-up of Laslo Djare and Dusan Lajovic, who was the finalist in Monte Carlo.
Roger Federer will face the winner of the match between France’s Richard Gasquet and the 19-year old home player, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who received a wildcard entry. Fokina lost a three-set semi-final match to Pablo Cuevas in Estoril Portugal.
The 2019 Barcelona titlist and fifth seed Dominic Thiem is likely to have a tough contest with Spain’s Pablo Carrena Busta, who plays against a qualifier in the first round.
In the lower half, Nadal awaits the outcome of the battle of two young players from Canada. The 20-year old Denis Shapovalov (ranked 20) will battle compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 18- year old that has attained a meteoric rise in ranking to the 30th spot this season.
The third seeded Alexander Zverev has a great threat in his second round match with the winner of Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut and compatriot David Ferrer, who got a wildcard to play in his last tournament. Kei Nishikori will await the winner of the match between Frances’s Gilles Simon and a qualifier.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has the benefit of the bye to arrive in time from Portugal where he is playing against Pablo Cuevas in the finals of the Millennium Estoril Open where he prevailed over Belgium’s David Goffin 3/6; 6/4; 6/4 in the semi-finals.
If the seedings hold past the third round, the quarterfinal match-ups will be Djokovic with Del Potro, Federer with Thiem, Tsitsipas with Zverev, and Nadal with Nishikori. It will be the classic pairings in the succession battle between age groups.
In a first round match, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios lost to the experienced Claycourt player from Germany, Jan-Lennard Struff, 7/6(4), 6/4.