ATP Tour: Mutua Madrid Open Selected Round of 64 Fixtures Preview

Tennis player stands with racquet in hand

Our tennis writer looks at selected Round of 64 fixtures from the ATP Madrid Masters starting on Tuesday 8 May. 

Borna Coric 15/20 | Pablo Carreno Busta 21/20
This looks set to be a blockbuster, with one of the most consistent players on tour, Pablo Carreno Busta, taking on one of the rising young guns on tour, Borna Coric. Pablo Carreno Busta really burst onto the scene with a tremendous run to the US Open semi-finals last year. He had a disappointing season on the South American clay-courts, but recent weeks have been prolific for the Spaniard. Three consecutive semi-final appearances include runs in Miami and Barcelona. So it seems as if Busta has finely become a more entrenched figure in the closing stages of events.

Coric has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence in the last three months or so. He had a creditable run to the quarterfinals in Dubai, but it was that run in Indian Wells that really announced his arrival. He narrowly lost to Roger Federer in an epic semi-final. He also managed a quarterfinal run in Miami, though he has yet to make an impact on the clay. He was somewhat unfortunate in Monte Carlo, running into a Novak Djokovic who seemed rejuvenated.

The two share one win apiece in their head-to-head statistics, with Coric winning a gruelling encounter in Doha at the start of the year. I have a feeling that Coric could have what it takes this week. Busta has been metronomic of late, but he has spent a lot of time on court. Coric has the type of dangerous game that can really dismantle anyone. 

Fabio Fognini 11/20 | Leonardo Mayer 27/20
This is one for the clay-court aficionados, with Argentine Mayer taking on Fabio Fognini. Fognini has had an extremely steady season, which started with a run to the final 16 in Melbourne. He went on to have a successful South American clay-court season, winning the Sao Paolo Open while reaching the semi-finals in Rio. But since then his form has slightly dipped, with a negligible ‘Sunshine Double’ followed by a disappointing start to the European clay-court season. A Round of 32 finish in Monte Carlo was followed by an inexplicable first round loss to compatriot Cecchinato in Stuttgart.

The 30 year-old Argentine hasn’t set the world on fire on the clay in Europe thus far. But his run to the final 16 at Indian Wells showed signs of just how dangerous he can be. He pushed Juan Martin Del Potro to the absolute limits at a time when Del Potro looked invincible. He also did fairly well in South America, reaching the quarterfinals  in the Sao Paolo Open and Argentine Open. So he may not be the most consistent player on tour, but is exactly the sort of player who can reward a speculative punt.

Fognini does lead the head-to-head statistics 3-1, though that doesn’t tell the entire story. Mayer won their last meeting on the clay courts of Argentina earlier this season, which makes him a decent prospect for a surprise in my opinion. 

Danil Medvedev 39/20 | Kyle Edmund 7/20
This should be an exhilarating contest between two of the many exciting young prospects on tour. Kyle Edmund came out of nowhere in Melbourne to give British tennis fans someone else to cheer for other than the truculent Andy Murray. But injury stepped in to curtail his season after that, though he has shown some recent improvement that suggests a return to form. He lost in the opening rounds of the ‘Sunshine Double’, before reaching the final in the Grand Prix Hassan II. Yes, it wasn’t exactly an elite event, but it served to give him a much needed run of competitive tennis. He lost early in Monte Carlo before a quarterfinal appearance in Estoril. It’s hard to really gauge where Edmund is at, but he’s a plucky competitor who will be looking for some clay court improvement.

Danil Medvedev is part of a new wave of Russian talent that seems to show no sign of ending. The talented Russian has also had an indifferent start to the clay court season, losing early in Estoril and Monte Carlo. But he showed glimpse of his real talent in The ‘Sunshine Double’. He reached the Round of 32 in Indian Wells while he pushed Alex Zverev all the way in a tight Round of 64 encounter in Miami. He also reached the quarterfinal stage in the Open Sud de France, so he has shown glimpses of ability in a season that is yet to fully bear fruit.

Edmund beat Medvedev in Winston-Salem last year, in what is their only meeting thus far, and their recent form seems to suggest Edmund may have the slight edge. But Medvedev’s losses have come against much more vaunted opposition, and I think the Russian may be worth your while here, especially at 39/20. 

Written by Damien Kayat for

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