Sports

Rafael Nadal’s draw at ATP Buenos Aires vs Juan Monaco

Rafael Nadal’s draw at ATP Buenos Aires vs Juan Monaco

rafael nadals draw at atp buenos aires 2016 imgaes

Rafael Nadal, as the top-seeded player at ATP Buenos Aires this week, enjoyed a first-round bye in the 250-level tournament. However, when the Spaniard opens his 2016 clay court season on Thursday, he will be staring down a difficult draw.

First up for Nadal is Juan Monaco, one of Argentina’s hopefuls for a title in Buenos Aires this weekend. The two players, him and Nadal, were the finalists at last year’s event, a match that the latter won in straight sets.

Monaco might be feeling optimistic about his chances of beating Nadal as Rafa lost to a similarly-abled player in Melbourne. But even though the Spaniard has not enjoyed a stellar start to the 2016 season, Monaco himself is a player well on the decline.

rafael nadal vs juan monaco at atp buenos aires 2016 images

The 8-time ATP titlist is now ranked outside of the Top 50 on tour. Furthermore, Monaco’s only victory against Nadal came on the hard court surface back in 2007. That result aside, Rafa is otherwise 6-0 against the Argentine, a record that includes multiple clay-court victories.

Surviving Monaco, Nadal’s quarterfinal match might actually be easier than his second-round one. He shares a draw to the semis with Paolo Lorenzi and Diego Schwartzman, two players that respectively took out clay courter Pablo Andujar and 7th-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov in the first round.

In the semifinals, Nadal would likely face either Dominic Thiem or Dusan Lajovic, two players that have already qualified for the quarterfinals. Either match could be testing, especially in light of Nadal’s recent loss at the Aussie to Fernando Verdasco. Thiem is a surging young player while clay-court tennis fans will remember that Lajovic made the French Open’s fourth round a couple years ago.

Should Nadal make the final in Buenos Aires, promising prospects to survive the other half of the draw include David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. However Nicolas Almagro is also on the bottom half of the draw, and he is into the quarterfinals following a routine win over Albert Montanes and a three-set victory over Federico Delbones.

Almagro is a 12-time ATP titlist, with all of them won on the clay-court surface. Now 30 years old, he’s a player that could re-emerge on tour still, and the South American clay court swing is where he could prove that he still has Top 25 abilities. However, it’s not clear where Almagro is at right now, and that leaves the bottom half of the draw largely Tsonga’s or Ferrer’s to lose.

It’s also not clear where Nadal is at right now. The loss in Australia was surprising, especially since Verdasco didn’t seem to be at the very top of his game. After all, the Spaniard himself went out in the very next round and only to Dudi Sela. Anything short of a title this weekend and I think Nadal will start to lose a lot of favor to win the next Grand Slam to be played, the 2016 French Open from Paris.

Click to add a comment
Sports
@GrandSlambert77

Shane is a sports writer with a big interest in tennis, but he's also a noted writer about travel and fiction. Plus he can handle long walks in the cold Canadian tundra!

More in Sports

Heisman Watch 2016 not so exciting anymore nfl images

Heisman Watch 2016: not so exciting anymore

Shane MclendonDecember 9, 2016
adrian peterson sets terms for his minnesota vikings comeback 2016 images

Adrian Peterson sets terms for his Minnesota Vikings comeback

Chris MauriceDecember 9, 2016
Edmonton Oilers Trade Rumors kick in as Team Struggles 2016 images

Edmonton Oilers Trade Rumors kick in as Team Struggles

Shane LambertDecember 9, 2016
russell westbrook gets energizing endorsement from lebron james 2016 images

Russell Westbrook gets energizing endorsement from LeBron James

Chris MauriceDecember 9, 2016
marijuana talk for steve kerr and phil jackson 2016 images

Marijuana talk for Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson

Chris MauriceDecember 8, 2016
NFL Winners and Losers Week 13 eric berry is big winner 2016 images

NFL Winners and Losers Week 13: Eric Berry is big winner

Shane MclendonDecember 8, 2016
brandin cooks trade rumors won't die down after recent saints loss 2016 images

Brandin Cooks trade rumors won’t die down after recent Saints loss

Chris MauriceDecember 8, 2016
novaj djokovic bids adieu to coach boris becker 2016 images

Novak Djokovic bids adieu to coach Boris Becker, plans to go alone

Shane LambertDecember 8, 2016
draymond green anger grows with nba over unnatural acts 2016 images

Draymond Green anger grows with NBA over ‘unnatural acts’

Chris MauriceDecember 6, 2016

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

You will only receive one per day. You'll also get a free THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel with your subscription