Rafael Nadal vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime
|Date & Time||Wednesday May 8, 2019, 6:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Rafael Nadal and Felix Auger-Aliassime meet in the second round of the 2019 tennis Madrid Open.
Rafael Nadal hasn’t played since making the semifinals in Barcelona and has lost twice on clay within the last two weeks. Nadal is still head and shoulders the favorite to win any tournament on clay, but he’s coming off a match in which he had five double faults, gave his opponent 12 break points and won just 43 percent of his second serve points. Nadal had issues with his serve as well in his semifinal loss in Monaco. So, for the first time in a while, there appears to be a bit of an opening for the rest of the field in these sort of tournaments, even if it’s expected that Nadal gets back on track. Nadal has won six of his last eight matches on clay court.
Felix Auger-Aliassime is coming off a straight sets win over Denis Shapovalov that took 21 games to decide. In the victory, Auger-Aliassime won 63 percent of his first serve points and 65 percent of his second serve points. Auger-Aliassime won 64 percent of his total service points and converted on three of his nine break points. Auger-Aliassime continues what has been his breakout season, as he dominated another young rising player and took advantage of questionable serving. Now a top-30 player in the world, Auger-Aliassime has won 10 of his last 13 matches when you include Miami qualifying. Auger-Aliassime looks to win back-to-back matches in a single tournament for the first time since Miami. Auger-Aliassime has one career win over a top-10 player, which came against Stefanos Tsitsipas this year at Indian Wells. Auger-Aliassime has won three of his last five matches on clay court.
There’s no match history between these two players.
Auger-Aliassime is a promising young player who has done a much better job of controlling his nerves and is certainly capable of winning a match of this caliber. The problem is Nadal rarely loses on this surface and should have an extra dash of motivation given the way his last two clay tournaments have ended. Auger-Aliassime has little experience at this level on this surface and one drop in his game is curtains for the 18-year-old. It will be fun to see how Auger-Aliassime measures up in this major test, but Nadal still has to be the pick to win.