ATP Madrid Open 2013 Draw Preview and Analysis

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For the full draw, please click here: ATP Madrid Masters 2013 Draw

After a brief and controversial experiment with the blue clay last year, the fourth Masters 1000 event of the year in Madrid returns to red. The Mutua Madrid Open is fairly new, having replaced Stuttgart in 2002 and only made the switch to clay in 2012. The event sees Roger Federer make his return to the tour after two months off as he hopes to become the first player to win the tournament for the fourth time.

After his stunning victory in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic will have plenty of reason to believe he is the favourite for this tournament after ending Nadal’s streak in Monaco. Grigor Dimitrov came close to pulling off what Djokovic achieved in the same tournament but buckled under the pressure late on in a spirited defeat. The Bulgarian has a chance to test himself against one of the best if he can defeat Spanish wildcard Javier Marti. Marti is yet to play a main draw match this year, having failed to qualify in eight attempts. Oeiras finalist Stanislas Wawrinka hopes to continue his good form here and will play Romania’s Marius Copil. Copil looks an odd wildcard choice on the face of it but was awarded it due to his association with tournament owner and countryman Ion Tiriac. A rematch of the Australian Open epic between Wawrinka and Djokovic looks likely, but the Swiss will have to deal with Martin Klizan or a qualifier before the World No.1.

Milos Raonic impressed in Barcelona, making the semi finals before being dealt with easily by eventual winner Rafael Nadal. Nikolay Davydenko is first up for the Canadian who should fancy his chances to progress given Davydenko’s inconsistent form. After a spectacular collapse at the Australian Open to first round opponent Fernando Verdasco, David Goffin went on a poor run of form but it doesn’t compare to Verdasco’s current run of 1 win in 8 including defeats to the likes of Marinko Matosevic and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo. A surprise quarter finalist last year, Alexandr Dolgopolov faces a tough draw once he presumably sees off a qualifier in round one. Seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga awaits in round two, although Dolgopolov was a winner in three here last year and surprisingly leads the head to head 3-2.

Having always struggled on clay, Andy Murray is no certainty to have it all his own way and his quarter looks the most likely to bring a shock semi finalist if there is one. Potential round 2 opponent Thomaz Bellucci actually defeated Murray in two sets in his last appearance at Madrid in 2011 although Bellucci must first defeat Florian Mayer to get to Murray. Bellucci leads the head to head 1-0, with the only meeting also at this tournament in 2011, where he eventually made the semi final of. At least one Frenchman will be in round two after Gilles Simon and Julien Benneteau were drawn together. Benneteau has been poor recently, losing his last five while Simon ended a four match losing streak of his own in Bucharest before losing to eventual winner Lukas Rosol. Simon leads the head to head 4-3 and has won their only meeting on clay in Casablanca 2008. Jeremy Chardy could make it an all-French affair in round two if he can see of Horacio Zeballos but both players are in fairly poor form – each with only one win in their last seven matches.

A losing finalist last year, Tomas Berdych looks well suited to trouble Murray here given the equal head to head (4-4) and more importantly the Czech has a 2-0 record on clay over Murray. Expect big serving in his round two match be it Sam Querrey or Jerzy Janowicz who comes out on top in the first. Janowicz went 25-5 on the Challenger Tour on clay last year but is yet to make an impact this year, going 0-2 in main draws losing to Albert Ramos and Kevin Anderson. Anderson can again be a dangerous floater in the draw, with a Casablanca final already to his name this year. Anderson plays a qualifier and then either Juan Monaco or Janko Tipsarevic, both of which have somewhat struggled to build on their impressive years last year. Tipsarevic leads the head to head 3-2 although Monaco’s victories both came on this surface.

A finalist in three of the past four years, Rafael Nadal came unstuck against Fernando Verdasco last year and was vocal in his dislike of the blue clay after his defeat. His route to the semi final most likely sees him taking on both the No.2 and No.3 Spaniards in Nicolas Almagro (8-0 clay H2H) and David Ferrer (14-1 clay H2H) but first up is most likely Benoit Paire for the second tournament running if the Frenchman can defeat a qualifier. Almagro also plays a qualifier with Fabio Fognini or Mikhail Youzhny waiting in round two. Fognini was shocked by Pablo Carreno-Busta in Oeiras although the Spaniard has been on a great run of form recently.

Ferrer made the final in Oeiras after his shocking defeat to Dmitry Tursunov the week before but has been far from his best still. Denis Istomin or a qualifier shouldn’t be the type to trouble him but Tommy Haas is more than capable after another final on the clay in Munich. Haas plays Andreas Seppi whom Ferrer dealt with easy and then could run into the revitalised Tommy Robredo. Robredo’s opponent Marcos Baghdatis holds a 3-1 H2H lead although none of them are on clay and the Cypriot is far from his best right now, losing in straights to Evgeny Korolev in Munich.

The final quarter is headed by defending champion Roger Federer in his first tournament since Indian Wells. It would be fairly surprising to see him fail to meet Nadal in the projected semi final. Bernard Tomic and Radek Stepanek are far from good clay courters and should be dealt with comfortably. Stepanek took the one and only match between the two last year at this tournament in straight sets. Kei Nishikori disappointed in Barcelona with an early exit to Albert Ramos but can bounce back against Jurgen Melzer in the opener here. The Austrian is 2-4 on the year on clay although he did have an impressive win over Nicolas Almagro in Monte Carlo. Viktor Troicki hopes to extend his head to head over Marcel Granollers to 6-1 with victory here, five of their meetings have been on clay with Troicki taking four of them.

Feliciano Lopez and Daniel Gimeno-Traver drawing each other ensures another Spaniard will be in round two but are unlikely to last much longer with Richard Gasquet awaiting the winner. Lopez won the only match between the two, a straight sets victory on the clay of Gstaad in 2011. John Isner plays a qualifier while the final wildcard spot goes to Pablo Andujar who faces a tough task against Marin Cilic.

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