Madrid Masters 2021 predictions and betting tips

andrew hendrie:

The Mutua Madrid Open, the biggest clay-court tournament outside of Roland Garros, has been cancelled for 2020 due to the global health crisis. The Madrid Open returns in 2021.

Madrid 2020 cancelled

The Mutua Madrid Open will no longer be taking place from 13-20 September 2020 – the tournament has been cancelled due to changes in local conditions.

The Madrid Open returns in 2021.

Madrid 2021 dates

The 2021 Mutua Madrid Open takes place from 1-9 May at the Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain.

Madrid 2020 predictions

Under normal circumstances, the Mutua Madrid Open is one of just four Premier Mandatory events for the women and a key Masters 1000 battleground in the lead-up to Roland Garros for the men.

In 2020, the Mutua Madrid Open has been rescheduled to September, and its player field may be impacted by the compressed schedule – the 2020 Madrid Open begins on the day of the US Open men’s final, so players who have gone deep at the US Open may struggle to return to Europe in time. However, the Madrid Masters is just two weeks before the 2020 French Open, so there are very good reasons for players to make the effort to play. 

Featuring a 56-player singles draw for the men and 64-player singles draw for the women, players will be competing for over US$7,000,000 in prize money, and more importantly, one of the biggest titles on tour.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic hopes to be back in a bid to defend his title, but as usual he will face stiff competition in the form of clay titans Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, along with rising stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev, while Kiki Bertens will have to be at the peak of her powers to go back-to-back in Madrid, with the likes of Simona Halep, Ashleigh Barty, Elina Svitolina, Sofia Kenin, Petra Kvitova and more all aiming for the silverware.

Who will emerge triumphant in Madrid in 2020?

Madrid Masters predictions: Can Djokovic hold off Nadal?

Since transitioning from an end-of-season indoor hardcourt tournament to a mid-season clay extravaganza in 2009, the Madrid Masters has been dominated by the ‘Big Four’ of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, with Alexander Zverev the only player to have broken through and secured the title when he did so with a win over Dominic Thiem in the 2018 final.

Nadal, the undisputed King of Clay, has won the most Madrid Masters titles on clay, triumphing on four occasions, although the last of his victories came back in 2017. Djokovic has claimed three trophies, including last year, while Federer was champion in 2009 and 2012. Murray won his lone clay Madrid crown in 2015.

Federer is definitely out of this year’s Madrid Masters after undergoing the second of two knee surgeries and shutting down the remainder of his 2020 season, while Andy Murray is uncertain – the British player returned to action during the ‘Battle of the Brits’ in late June when he reached the semifinals, but is likely to be cautious in his schedule as he tries to manage his ongoing comeback from hip resurfacing surgery. 

On the other hand, Nadal has publicly committed to playing the Madrid Masters, so should be expected to lead the field. Hopefully, he will be joined by Djokovic, Thiem and young guns such as Zverev, Tsitsipas and Medvedev, all leading contenders for the title at the 2020 Madrid Masters when it takes place from 13-20 September.

Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2019 (Photo by A. Perez Meca/AlterPhotos/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Before the ATP Tour was suspended due to the global health crisis, Djokovic had put together an intimidating start to the season, compiling a flawless 18-0 record that included titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai. 

It was the calibre of players that Djokovic has beaten during that run that was ultra-impressive, with the world no. 1 conquering the likes of Nadal, Thiem, Federer, Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Gael Monfils, Denis Shapovalov, Karen Khachanov and Diego Schwartzman, just to name a few.

It’s uncertain whether Djokovic will compete at the US Open, although he has recently been seen practicing on hard courts, which suggests that he will. In turn, that could make his Madrid Masters participation doubtful – the fact that the tournament at the Caja Magica begins on the day of the US Open men’s final underlines the brutally quick transition players who go deep in New York would have to make between continents and surfaces in order to compete in Madrid. We will have to wait for more information on Djokovic’s plans, but if he does compete in Madrid, the world no. 1 will be a formidable contender indeed.

That would make a potential showdown with Nadal inside the Caja Magica all the more mouth-watering. The Spaniard pipped Djokovic for the World No. 1 ranking at the end of 2019 and his unrivalled clay-court credentials speak for themselves, but there’s no denying the Serbian has propelled himself back into the conversation as far as challenging Nadal on clay goes.

The big question about Nadal and the Madrid Open is how the Spaniard will fare with little match practice coming into the competition. Traditionally, and despite his undoubted clay-court prowess, Nadal tends to need to have played plenty of matches to find his best tennis. That won’t be an option in 2020, and could perhaps contribute to an early exit from Madrid.

Part of Nadal’s relatively slow start to the clay-court season in 2019 was a semifinal defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas, and it will be intriguing to see how the Greek fares on the dirt in 2020. Champion at the Nitto ATP Finals last year, the 21-year-old struggled at the Australian Open, when he was defending semi-final points, and with runner-up points to defend in Madrid, he will be under pressure. Nevertheless, Tsitsipas has beaten all of the Big Three and defeating Nadal on clay in Madrid last year will give him immense confidence.

Meanwhile, Thiem – who many have dubbed the ‘Prince of Clay’ – will be determined to claim a Masters 1000 title on clay this season, along with the French Open, where he was finished runner-up twice now. Thiem is also a two-time runner-up in Madrid, falling to Nadal and Zverev in the 2017 and 2018 finals – will this be the year the Austrian enforcer reigns supreme in the Spanish capital?

Overall, at this stage of the season, it could be argued that Djokovic and Nadal are equal favourites for the 2020 Madrid title, followed by Thiem, with Tsitsipas, Zverev and Medvedev all in the conversation.

Mutua Madrid Open predictions: Another wide open women’s field

Predicting the women’s champions in Grand Slam and Premier Mandatory events is almost impossible these days, but we’ll offer some analysis in any case!

One thing’s for certain, Kiki Bertens is going to have her hands full in order to become the third woman to successfully defend the Mutua Madrid Open, following Serena Williams in 2012-13 and Simona Halep in 2016-17.

Bertens put together a barnstorming run to emerge with the Madrid silverware last year, beating four top 10 players to claim her first Premier Mandatory title. The Dutchwoman has transformed from a clay-court specialist to an all-surface player over the last two seasons, but there’s no doubt Bertens still does her best work on the dirt – and she will need to be operating at the peak of her powers to keep her hands on the trophy in 2020.

Kiki Bertens and Simona Halep in 2019 (Credit Image: © Legan P. Mace/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire)

It’s uncertain whether Serena will return for a third crack at the Madrid title, but we can be sure – barring injuries of course – the likes of two-time champion Halep and record three-time winner Petra Kvitova will be in action at the Caja Magica.

Former French Open champion Halep has been one of the most consistent players on tour over the last decade and is used to deep runs in Madrid, reaching two finals in 2014 and 2019, in addition to her two titles in 2016 and 2017. The Romanian had a solid Australian Open, reaching the semi-finals before losing to Garbine Muguruza, and will no doubt be there or thereabouts during the business end of the 2020 Mutua Madrid Open.

Speaking of Muguruza, the resurgent Spaniard will be relishing the chance to play in front of her home fans after making that aforementioned Australian Open final and quickly heading back towards the top 10 – however, she has a poor record in Madrid, going 5-7 in her home tournament and never once making it past the third round.

Someone who has been past the third round on many occasions is three-time champion Kvitova, who took home the silverware in 2011, 2015 and 2018. The hard-hitting Czech loves the altitude in Madrid, which compliments her powerful shotmaking from the baseline – is Kvitova the player to beat again in 2020?

We haven’t even mentioned reigning French Open champion and current World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty yet, such is the incredible depth of women’s tennis at the moment. Barty continues to rank No. 1 by over 2,000 points at the time of writing, but she’s defending Miami champion points this month and of course Roland Garros later in the season, so we’ll see how she handles the pressure of defending those feats, but there’s no doubt Barty will be very tough to beat in Madrid this year.

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin will be another player to watch – the American beat Serena Williams on her way to the fourth round of Roland Garros last year and is an excellent player on clay, where her counterpunching style sees her very hard to break down from the baseline.

Fellow young guns Naomi Osaka – who is searching for her best form – and Bianca Andreescu, who is yet to play yet in 2020 at the time of writing and missed last year’s Mutua Madrid Open because of injury, could also be in contention, along with the likes of more experienced top 10 players Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina.

Another big Premier Mandatory title is up for grabs in Madrid in 2020 – who steps up and takes it?

Madrid 2020 tournament information

Name: Mutua Madrid Open, also known as the Madrid Masters
Location: Madrid, Spain
Venue: Caja Magica
Category: ATP Masters 1000 Series/ WTA Premier Mandatory
Surface: Clay
Draw size: 56-singles (men), 64-singles (women)
Most titles:
Men – Rafael Nadal (5)
Women – Petra Kvitova (3)
Reigning champions:
Men – Novak Djokovic
Women – Kiki Bertens

WTA qualifying begins on Friday May 1, while ATP qualifying starts on Saturday May 2. WTA main draw action gets underway on Saturday May 2, with ATP main draw play beginning from Sunday May 3.

The women’s singles final takes place on Saturday May 9 and the men’s singles final will be staged on Sunday May 10.

Madrid player performance

Who are the best-performing male players at the Madrid Masters

PlayerYears PlayedTitlesFinals2019 ResultWin Loss
Rafael Nadal145 (2008, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2017)4SF50-9
Novak Djokovic113 (2011, 2015, 2019)0Champion28-8
Roger Federer123 (2006, 2009, 2012)2QF37-9
Andy Murray112 (2008, 2015)1Didn’t play21-10
Alexander Zverev31 (2018)0QF10-2
Dominic Thiem502SF13-4
Stefanos Tsitsipas201Runner-up4-2

Who are the best-performing female players at the Mutua Madrid Open?

PlayerYears PlayedTitlesFinals2019 ResultWin-Loss
Petra Kvitova103 (2011, 2015, 2018)0QF29-7
Serena Williams62 (2012, 2013)0Didn’t play24-3
Simona Halep92 (2016, 2017)2Runner-up24-7
Kiki Bertens41 (2019)1Champion14-3

Madrid betting tips

Check back here later for the best Mutua Madrid Open betting tips when the odds are released closer to the tournament. Main draw action begins on Sunday 13 September.