Rafael Nadal has been the star of the clay court swing so far in 2017 and is a fair favourite to pick up yet another Roland Garros title next month. The Spaniard will first look to win his fifth Madrid title and fourth in the clay version of the event. He and Fabio Fognini renew their revival on Manolo Santana Court today.
After losing in the Miami final to Roger Federer, Nadal took to the clay and has looked dominant with titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona with just one set dropped in the two tournaments. That came in the second set of his opener in Monte Carlo, meaning he is currently on a 19 set winning streak. “Right now I feel fine. I’m very happy because of the start of the year, not only because of the start of the clay season.” He looks far more confident and that showed these past few weeks, especially his crushing victory over Dominic Thiem in the Barcelona final.
Meanwhile, Fognini ended a 4 match losing streak in his opener here – beating Joao Sousa. He and Nadal had a number of epic encounters in 2015 but Nadal has took charge in the most recent matches. He won all 3 of them in straight sets, most recently in this year’s Miami semi finals. Nadal should expect to cruise through here and will definitely be expected to be a contender at one of his best tournaments.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in straight sets