The World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will be keen to extend his fabulous form at Melbourne Park when he is set to face fifth-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece on Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday.
Both players are yet to lose a match in 2021 but one of them will have to accept a defeat, whereas the winner of this tie will advance to face either of Russia’s top players – Andrey Rublev or Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open semi-finals.
Their most recent meeting was at the season-ending championship in November, when Tsitsipas suffered a 4-6, 6-4, 2-6 defeat to Rafa Nadal in a crucial round-robin match and thus failed to defend his title at the O2 Arena in London.
Rafael Nadal Betting Preview
Rafael Nadal continues his bid to win the Australian Open title for the first time since 2009 and the Spaniard is yet to drop a set at this year’s tournament.
The Spaniard holds a 6-1 lead over Stefanos Tsitsipas, yet he cannot really afford to underestimate the Greek and his ambition, boosted by his progress under Patrick Mouratoglou.
Nadal’s only defeat against Stefanos Tsitsipas surprisingly came on home soil in May 2019, when the Greek stunned Nadal 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in the semi-finals of the Madrid Masters.
Since then, Nadal has won the following three matches and is once again favored to do so on Wednesday.
The Spaniard won his 20th Grand Slam title in an emphatic fashion at the French Open just several months ago and is now on to the next one, and his chances are getting bigger and bigger.
Earlier in the competition, The 34-year-old Spaniard eased past the likes of Laslo Djere of Serbia, Michael Mmoh of the United States and Cameron Norrie of the United kingdom, and was set to face an old rival – Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the fourth round.
Rafael Nadal managed to cool the enthusiasm of an inspired Fabio Fognini who recently enjoyed some great wins and already had a history of upsetting the Spaniard. However, Nadal was focused and closed the match in 2 hours and 19 minutes to prove exactly how determined he is to earn another Grand Slam title.
Stefanos Tsitsipas Betting Preview
The 22-year-old Greek already reached the semi-finals in 2019 when Rafa Nadal himself cancelled his dreams for a first Grand Slam final.
However, two years later, Tsitsipas seems to be more mature as he gained considerable experience, playing at top level and establishing himself as one of the players who are tipped to become future superstars in men’s tennis.
Unlike 2019 – his breakthrough year – 2020 wasn’t particularly successful for Tsitsipas, yet he still managed to win a title – at the Open 13 in France (February 2020) – and played two more ATP 500 finals at Dubai and Hamburg, while he also did well at the Cincinnati Masters and at the French Open, where he reached the semi-finals.
Stepping into the new season, fifth-seed Tsitsipas will now prepare to challenge the 2009 champion and second seed Rafael Nadal on Wednesday in a bid to reach his second semifinal at Melbourne Park
The Greek should be well rested, coming off a walkover win against an in-form Matteo Berrettini of Italy. However, sometimes it’s the match practice you need to gain momentum ahead of an important game, particularly when we’re still at the very beginning of the new tennis season and you cannot really complain from the heavy workload and fatigue.
Of course, the quarantine requirements in order to enter into Australia were harsh for the players and the lack of proper preparation could be one of the reasons for the so many injuries so far in the competition.
All in all, Tsitsipas enjoys a six-match winning streak since he lost to Nadal in November and in addition to his Australian Open run, the Greek also did what he could for Team Greece at the ATP Cup, where he claimed straight-sets victories against Australia’s Alex De Minaur and Spain’s Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Spooky Express Betting Predictions
Tsitsipas was already involved in one thrilling five-setter as early as in the second round, when he was challenged by the Greek-Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis and the Greek showed tight nerves to win the fifth set, even though he lost two tie-breaks earlier in the game.
He also beat experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon in the first round and Mikael Ymer of Sweden in the third round, but the cancelled match against 9th-seed Italian Matteo Berrettini would’ve been a real test of his form at the start of the season.
In our opinion, this it’s a match that could go either way, even though Nadal remains the red-hot favorite to proceed. However, if Tsitsipas successfully performs his aggressive baseline style with his powerful groundstroke winners, he could be a tricky opponent for anyone on the ATP Tour.
Spooky Express Free Play 1: Over 41 Games -112 @ BetOnline for 6/10 Units
Spooky Express Free Play 2: Over 4½ Sets +240 @ BetOnline for 2/10 Units