Barcelona R3 previews and picks: Nadal vs. Dodig, Robredo vs. Cilic

Rafa1Defending champion Rafael Nadal and fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo will continue their Barcelona campaigns on Thursday. They are going up against Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic, respectively.

(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Ivan Dodig

Nadal and Dodig will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers when they clash in round three of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on Thursday afternoon. The head-to-head series stands at 2-1 in Nadal’s favor, with Dodig scoring a 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(5) upset at the 2011 Montreal Masters. Nadal won their only previous encounter 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals of this same Barcelona event in 2011 and he also prevailed 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 at last summer’s U.S. Open.

The top-ranked Spaniard opened on Wednesday with a 7-6(2), 6-4 defeat of countryman Albert Ramos as he looks to bounce back from a Monte-Carlo quarterfinal loss to David Ferrer. Nadal, who is 24-4 this season, is now 41-1 lifetime in Barcelona with eight titles in nine appearances. Dodig has advanced with victories over Facundo Arguello and Feliciano Lopez. The 37th-ranked Spaniard is still just 7-9 for the year and this is his second tournament in which he has won back-to-back matches. On clay, Dodig does not have much in the tank with which to seriously trouble Nadal.

Pick: Nadal in 2 losing 5-7 games

(5) Tommy Robredo vs. (12) Marin Cilic

Robredo and Cilic will be facing each other for the fifth time in their careers and for the second time this spring. The head-to-head series is tied up at 2-2 and they have never met on clay. Their most recent collision came at last month’s Indian Wells Masters, where a red-hot Cilic cruised to a 6-4, 6-3 victory. Prior to that, they had not squared off since 2009.

The 27th-ranked Croat has cooled off just a bit since capturing hard-court titles in Zagreb and Indian Wells, but he is still 24-7 for the year and back up to No. 27 in the world. Cilic opened on Wednesday with a 6-1, 7-6(2) scalp of Andrey Kuznetsov. Robredo advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Marinko Matosevic. The fifth-seeded Spaniard, who has been solid in 2014 but lacks any especially notable result, dropped his Houston opener and lost to Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-3 in the Monte-Carlo third round. Robredo’s tactics of playing an immeasurable distance behind the baseline against Cilic in Indian Wells should work better on clay. At home and on this surface, Robredo should be able to turn this into a baseline dogfight–which favors him.

Pick: Robredo in 3

48 Comments on Barcelona R3 previews and picks: Nadal vs. Dodig, Robredo vs. Cilic

  1. YAY! I can see Rafa’s match live! Since he is playing at night, the match will be on at 10:00 am my time!

    Good luck, Rafa! I don’t care how many games lost, just get the win!

    As for Robredo/Cilic, I will go with Robredo in three sets.

  2. Ooh la la………..just checked the ATP Livestream site, Rafa will be on not before 19h00 local time which will be 18h00 where I’m at. Scheduled evening run or Rafa? No contest, Rafa wins everytime!

    Vamos!

    • rafaisthebest (at 11:00 am)

      But he likes sun.
      Rafa’s interview on June 4, 2010
      ¤¤ Question. What conditions do you prefer on Sunday? Will it be like today sunny and hot or like a couple days ago when it was raining?
      RAFA: Always sun.

      Q. Always sun. Can you elaborate on that one, please?
      RAFA: Why?

      Q. Yeah.
      RAFA: First thing because sun is energy (Laughter.)
      Second thing, because everything is nicer with the sun than with the rain, wind, these kind of things.
      Third point, because with the sun my ball is getting more topspin than with rain and with the other conditions.
      So three points that I think. ¤¤
      🙂

      • augusta08: April 24, 2014 at 11:26 am
        Lost in translation I think……..

        What I meant is, it will be a choice for me between fulfilling my running club obligations (running) and watching Rafa tonight…………Rafa won.

    • ^^that’s too bad. The conditions were poor yesterday during Rafa’s match. The commies said the courts needed watering.

  3. For those in USA, ESPN3 is livestreaming the match. Commies saying Rafa is not playing so great and already got broken on an UE.

  4. Rafa’s still making some errors, but he’s hitting with increased confidence as the match goes on. I’m liking what I’m seeing today. Very much improved over yesterday.

  5. I am also liking what I am seeing, hitting the FH with purpose. Am interested to know the error count up to now…….

    • Rafa UE count for the match was 11 i.e. 60% less than yesterday: Serve stats were also good 75% first serve with 70% points won.

      • I think he just needs to speed up his service routine a little, but I think this will come with confidence build-up. I thought he was deliberate today, forcing himself to stay in the moment, quieting those “voices”……………

  6. What an improvement!! ONLY 11 UEs today, compared to 27 yesterday and gazzillions against Ferru………….very good, Rafa, keep up the downward slide in Us. Warming up nicely……

    #KingOfClay

  7. Good stuff from Rafa in this match. He was getting good court positioning, hitting his shots either on the baseline or inside the baseline. He seemed more focused, sure of what he wanted to do. Constructing points well. Fewer UE’s. Nice to see! 😀

  8. I see HUGE improvement! Rafa performing much better today…I am pleased UEs significantly reduced…Rafa standing closer to the baseline and takes less time between the points… 🙂 Rafa sure looks happier…Toni looked happier…good day in the office…

    Let’s improve more Rafa! Let’s deal with Almagro properly…it’s not going to be easy but Rafa is certainly getting there…real tennis that is!

    Vamos Rafa!

  9. I was the only one that had Cilic winning this in fantasy tennis. Does that make up for me thinking Janowicz could handle a couple of qualifiers on clay?

  10. Ricky,

    Wow! You are being so tough on Jared. I didn’t think Cilic would beat Robredo. That match was quite a battle.

    However, I wouldn’t be picking Janowicz to win anything these days. He’s gone off the boil.

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