Nadal vs Tsistipas-Barcelona Open Final Preview

Top two seeds Rafael Nadal and Stephanos Tsistipas will clash in the final of Barcelona Open on Sunday.Top seed Spaniard Nadal beat compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets to reach his 12th final in Barcelona while Tsistipas got better of 19 year old Jannik Sinner to make to to summit clash.

Head to Head

Nadal leads Tsistipas 6-2 in their head to head meetings.Tsistipas won their last encounter at Australian Open when Greek fought back from two sets down to shock Nadal in quarterfinals in Melbourne.His only other win against Nadal came in Madrid on clay in 2019.

Form

Tsistipas has been in the form of his life.He won Monte Carlo Masters last week beating another in-form player Andrey Rublev in the final.He is on 9 match winning streak.Besides,he hasn’t dropped a set in two weeks and lost his serve only 4 times.On the other side,Nadal lost in quarterfinals of Monte Carlo Masters last week.Rafa has been patchy at times this week at ATP 500 event needing 3 sets to beat Ivashka and Nishikori.However he convincingly beat his next two opponents Norrie and Busta.

Tactics for final

Tsistipas will rely heavily on his big serve and forehand to keep Nadal on the back foot.11 time champion Nadal will have to be better on his defensive skills and need to win more points in rallies.Moreover,his returns will also play a big part in the match as Rafa stays far behind the baseline on opponents service game.Nadal may try to attack on Tsistipas second serve and dictate play.Overall,it will be a close battle.

Prediction

Nadal is King of Clay.He has won 92% of his matches on red dirt.Home crowd will also be in Nadal’s favour.Nadal will extend his record with 12th title in Barcelona.

 

By Shailesh Padhye

 

 

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