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ATP Barcelona 2019 Draw Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can Nadal get back on track with Barcelona title after shock Monte Carlo exit?

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 22 Apr 2019
  • Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev headline the Barcelona Open field, live from 22-28 April
  • Nadal is seeking his 12th Barcelona title
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, and Dominic Thiem headline the field at the Barcelona Open, live from 22-28 April.

After his shock loss to Fabio Fognini in Monte Carlo semi-finals, can Rafael Nadal get back to title-winning ways in Barcelona? Just like in Monte Carlo, the Spaniard will attempt to win the Barcelona title for a 12th time, while he's also seeking a first ATP Tour title since last August. 

Nadal is not the only top player needing a response to an unexpected Monte Carlo exit, as Zverev and Thiem, both of whom suffered early losses last week will look to get their clay-court seasons back on track.

It should be a very exciting week in Barcelona, and we've got a breakdown of the draw.

First Quarter

Projected Quarter-final: Rafael Nadal (1) vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) [Nadal leads 3-0 on head-to-head]

Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas could meet in the quarter finals in Barcelona, in a repeat of last year's championship match.

Nadal was very critical of his performance during his Monte Carlo defeat to Fognini, he will demand of himself big improvements in Barcelona, as he builds up towards Roland Garros.

The great Spaniard gets a bye into the second round in Barcelona, where he begins his campaign against either Marius Copil or Leonardo Mayer. Two-time Hamburg champion, Mayer appears to be the more formidable opponent, but either way Nadal shouldn't have much problems in navigating that opener. The great Spaniard is seeded to meet Lucas Pouille in the third round, but Pouille has done nothing since reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in January and arrives Barcelona on a five-match losing streak.

That could create the opening for sentimental favourite, David Ferrer, who is appearing at the tournament for one final time before he retires from the sport in May. Ferrer should be too strong for Mischa Zverev in the first round, and I'm backing him to beat Pouille in the second, setting up a third round meeting with Nadal. Nadal should be too strong for his compatriot.

Stefanos Tsitsipas hasn't got the most remarkable draw on the other side of this quarter, as he gets a first-round bye, and opens against either Marton Fucsovics or American, Denis Kudla. The highest-ranked player he could meet in the third round is David Goffin, who hasn't had the most eye-catching of seasons, and could be ambushed by Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round.

Predicted Quarter final: Rafael Nadal vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Semi-Final: Rafael Nadal

Second Quarter

Projected Quarter Final: Dominic Thiem (3) vs Karen Khachanov (6) [Khachanov leads 1-0 on head-to-head]

Dominic Thiem was arguably the second best on clay behind Rafael Nadal in each of the previous two seasons, but the Austrian has had a stuttering campaign on the surface so far in 2019. A 2-2 run in the South American Golden Swing was representative of a poor start to the season, but the Austrian ignited his year with a terrific run to the Indian Wells title- his first at Masters 1000 level.

That was supposed to set him up for more success on his favourite clay, but Thiem crashed to a lopsided third round defeat to Dusan Lajovic, slipping to 3-3 on clay for the season. Can he get things going on the dirt in Barcelona, where he was a finalist in 2017?

It's not the most straightforward of draws for Thiem, as he could open against the always dangerous and tenacious Diego Schwartzman in the second round. (Thiem gets a bye through the first round, while Schwartzman starts against Yoshihito Nishioka). 

If Thiem comes through, and I think he will, the Austrian is seeded to play Frances Tiafoe in the third round, but Spaniard, Jaume Munar, who is a possible second round opponent for Tiafoe, could beat the American to that third round ticket. 

Whoever gets through all of that- and it should be Thiem- is projected to meet Karen Khachanov in the quarter finals, but given the season Khachanov is having, and the fact that he could play the in-form Guido Pella in his tournament opener, the Russian is unlikely to get that far. 

Pella must first get past Joao Sousa to set up that meeting with Khachanov. I expect Pella to beat Sousa and Khachanov, and reach the third round, where the seedings say he should face Pablo Carreno Busta.

Carreno Busta has not played since February, when he retired from an opening round meeting with Pedro Cachin in Cordoba, and with Cordoba champion, Juan Ignacio Londero or Marrakech winner, Benoit Paire as his possible second round opponent, the Spaniard faces a difficult return to the tour, one that he'll probably not pass. I like what I saw of Pella in Monte Carlo, and I'm backing the Argentine to come through the bottom section of this quarter, and set up a meeting with Dominic Thiem. 

Predicted quarter final: Dominic Thiem vs Guido Pella 
Semi-Finalist: Dominic Thiem

Third Quarter

Projected Quarter Final: Kei Nishikori (4) vs Fabio Fognini (8) [Nishikori leads 2-1 on head-to-head]

After a strong start to the season, Kei Nishikori has faded sharply in recent weeks, suffering a series of surprising defeats. 

A fine start to 2019 featured a title run in Brisbane, a quarter final at the Australian Open and semi-final in Rotterdam, but the Japanese has won just two matches in four tournaments since then, and arrives Barcelona on a three match losing streak. The most recent of those defeats was a 7-5 6-4 loss to Pierre-Hugues Herbert at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Can the two-time Barcelona champion get things back on track in Catalonia?

Nishikori gets a bye into the second round, where he starts off against one of two big serving Americans, Taylor Fritz or Reilly Opelka. You would think that Nishikori should be too dynamic for the Americans, but given his recent form, and the associated low confidence, it may not be that straightforward. Fritz will especially be dangerous, having made the third round in Monte Carlo, beating Diego Schwartzman along the way. 

If Nishikori survives, he is projected to meet Felix Auger-Aliassime, but German veteran, Philip Kohlschreiber will have other ideas. A battle of the generations between Kohlschreiber and Auger-Aliassime is a possible second round contest.

Monte Carlo champion, Fabio Fognini leads the other end of this quarter, and as has been the case for virtually all his career, the mercurial Italian remains extremely unpredictable! Will he bring his Monte Carlo form to Barcelona? Will he have a post-Monte Carlo hangover? Will he play Barcelona?

Fognini has a first round bye, and could open against Federico Delbonis, while Denis Shapovalov, Houston champion, Christian Garin or Martin Klizan are possible third round opponents. It's an open section of the draw, and with the uncertainties around Fognini, there could be an opportunity for the talented Chilean, Garin to make a run this week.

Predicted Quarter Final: Philip Kohlschreiber vs Christian Garin
Semi-Finalist: Christian Garin

Fourth Quarter

Predicted Quarter Final: Alexander Zverev (2) vs Daniil Medvedev (7) [Zverev leads 4-0 on head-to-head]

2019 has not quite gone according to plan for reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion, Alexander Zverev, and his latest setback was in Monte Carlo, where he crashed to a third round loss to eventual champion, Fabio Fognini. Zverev has now won just three matches in his last four tournaments, and can do with a decent run in Barcelona.

He has not got the easiest of draws, as he opens against either the dangerous Nicolas Jarry or Marcel Granollers, while Grigor Dimitrov and Fernando Verdasco are among his possible third-round opponents. Should Zverev get through, he is seeded to face Monte Carlo semi-finalist, Daniil Medvedev in the quarter finals. 

Medvedev has an abysmal record on clay heading into last week's Monte Carlo Masters, having won just two matches on the surface all through his career, but he made his first significant moves on the surface by reaching the semi-finals, famously knocking out Novak Djokovic along the way. Following a first round bye, Medvedev opens his tournament against either Cameron Norrie or Albert Ramos-Vinolas, while Gilles Simon is the highest-ranked of his projected third round opponents.

I think Medvedev will get through his section of the draw, but I'm not very sure about Zverev. Grigor Dimitrov had a decent campaign in Monte Carlo and showed flashes against Nadal- he could be the man to benefit from Zverev's dodgy form.


Predicted Quarter Final: Daniil Medvedev vs Grigor Dimitrov 
Semi-Finalist: Grigor Dimitrov

Semi-Finals
Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem
Christian Garin vs Daniil Medvedev 

Final
Rafael Nadal vs Daniil Medvedev

Winner
Rafael Nadal


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ATP Barcelona 2019 Draw Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Can Nadal get back on track with Barcelona title after shock Monte Carlo exit?

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev headline the field at this week's Barcelona Open, live from Barcelona from 22-28 April. Read our draw preview, predictions and stream the matches live online.

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