Rafael Nadal will once again attempt to win his first title of 2019, this time in Madrid. He plays the young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the opener with either Frances Tiafoe or Philipp Kohlschreiber waiting in the third round.
Nadal is a five time winner in Madrid but failed to take the title last year, losing to Dominic Thiem in the quarter finals. The second seed will be desperate to get on the board ahead of Roland Garros, having lost to Fabio Fognini and Dominic Thiem on clay already this year. Despite his loss to the Austrian in Barcelona, he was not too down. “After this week my confidence is back,” Nadal said afterwards. “I really believe that I made very good improvements to create a good base to try to achieve my goals during the next couple of weeks.”
His opponent came on to the clay full of confidence, having made the Miami Masters semi final back in March. The Canadian had a surprisingly comfortable win over Denis Shapovalov to earn his matchup with Nadal, winning 6-2 7-6. Auger-Aliassime already has a clay final this season, losing to Laslo Djere earlier in the season in Sao Paolo.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in straight sets