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Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz Tips - Teen phenom Alcaraz set for birthday reality-check vs Nadal

  • Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz predictions for Wednesday’s ATP tennis match
  • Nadal 5-time Madrid Masters champ
  • Alcaraz turns 18 on Wednesday
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Rafael Nadal
(Getty Images)
Dan Hunter 05 May 2021
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Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz Tips 


World no.2 and top seed Rafael Nadal will take on his heir-apparent in young Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz at the ATP Madrid Masters on Wednesday, May 5. This is a second round match –Nadal gets a bye as one of the top seeds, while Alcaraz defeated Italian veteran Adrian Mannarino in the first round on Monday. Alcaraz’s match with Nadal takes place on his 18th birthday.

Of course, Rafael Nadal needs no introduction; as the undisputed “King of Clay”, the 34-year-old Spaniard has won more than 60 events on the red dirt, including five Madrid Masters trophies. Nadal has already won this year on the European clay-court swing, claiming a 12th Barcelona Open title less than two weeks ago, and defeating the most in-form player in the world right now in the final, world no.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas.


Carlos Alcaraz
(Getty Images)

While hard-core tennis fans have been high on Carlos Alcaraz for some time now, the general sporting public will be new to this good-looking teenager who has not yet cracked the world’s top 100. Alcaraz established himself as one of the world’s top juniors, and then last year won six titles on the ATP Challenger and ITF Futures tours, which are one step below the ATP regular tour.

At 6’1” and already weighing around 170 lbs, Alcaraz reminds this writer of Rafael Nadal around the same age. Like Nadal, Alcaraz is a “man-child”, able to crush the ball with bludgeoning power already, as was displayed in his impressive straight sets victory over Adrian Mannarino on Monday. The Italian is famous - some might say infamous - for his awkward style of play, but Alcaraz aggressively blasted him off the court 6-4, 6-0.

I’m backing Rafael Nadal to win on Wednesday. Although I’m sure Nadal wishes nothing but the best for his young “paisano”, when it comes to competitive tennis, Rafa is as ruthless as they come. 

  • Nadal no.2 on ATP Tour
  • Nadal is 11-2 in 2021
  • Alcaraz is 120 on ATP Tour
  • Alcaraz is 6-7 on ATP Tour

Head to Head 


This will be the first ever meeting between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, and depending on how long Nadal stays fit and healthy and chooses to remain in the game, it could be the first of many encounters over the next few years.

Rafael Nadal Form


Rafael Nadal reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year, losing in five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas. Nadal chose to avoid playing any further hardcourt tennis, and instead made his comeback on his favorite surface – clay – at the Monte Carlo Masters. A quarterfinal exit in three sets against Andre Rublev was not a bad result, especially considering how well the young Russian has performed this season.

Nadal was much improved in his second tournament, winning the Barcelona Open for the 12th time, and gaining revenge over Tsitsipas in the final. That match alone will have sharpened him as much as all of the tennis he has played over the past three weeks. Both men survived match points in a thrilling three-setter that lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Carlos Alcaraz Form


Similarly to Nadal, who hails from the small town of Manacor on the island of Mallorca, Carlos Alcaraz comes from the remote village of El Palmar, in Murcia, Andalusia. However, not hailing from a big city didn’t stop Nadal becoming a top player by his teens, and the same looks set to apply to 17-year-old Alcaraz. As previously stated, last season Alcaraz got a taste for winning professional tournaments as he claimed three titles on the ITF Futures circuit, and three more on the ATP Challenger Tour.

This season, Alcaraz has focused his attention on the ATP Tour itself, and while he is 6-7 in main draw matches, including qualifying wins he is an impressive 14-7. In April, Alcaraz reached his first ATP 250 semifinal in Marbella, defeating the highly rated Norwegian Casper Ruud in the quarters. As regards his match against Nadal on Wednesday, which falls on his 18th birthday, Alcaraz said:

“It's the best present for my birthday. It's a dream come true. To play against Rafa here in Madrid in front of the Spanish crowd, I will never forget this moment and I will learn from him.”

Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz FAQ

When is the Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz match taking place?

Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz takes place at TBA (AEDT) on Wednesday, May 5

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Our live streaming calendar shows you where you can watch a Rafael Nadal vs Carlos Alcaraz live stream


US

Verdict

The beauty of the ATP tour is if a young player is good enough to compete there, he gets to take on the very best players in the world. Nobody is expecting Carlos Alcaraz to defeat Rafael Nadal on Wednesday, although Rafa has lost to some young upstarts in the past the first time he has played them – the names Nick Kyrgios and Denis Shapovalov spring to mind.

However those defeats were on grass and cement respectively, while this match will be played on Rafa’s beloved red clay. I see this match going only one way, and I’m backing Nadal to win impressively in straight sets.
Best Bet: Alcaraz +1.5 Sets Handicap @220.00 at BetMGM - 1 Unit
Best Bet: Nadal 6-3 Set 1 Score @275.00 at Caesars (Sport) - 1 Unit
Value Bet: Nadal 6-2 Set 2 Score @350.00 at PlaySugarhouse Sport - 1 Unit

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Rafael Nadal v Carlos Alcaraz