Federer top seed in Madrid following Djokovic withdrawal

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal could face each other in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open after they landed in the same half of the draw on Friday afternoon.

Federer, ranked No. 2 in the world, snagged the top seed by virtue of Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal. Djokovic, who has won all three Masters 1000 events this season in Indian Wells, Miami, and Monte-Carlo, pulled out citing a need for additional rest. He plans to return at the BNL Internazionali d’Italia in Rome the following week.

Still struggling behind Andy Murray at No. 4 in the rankings, Nadal was at the mercy of the draw as Madrid’s third seed. He ended up in a second section that also includes Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, and Kevin Anderson. The Spaniard awaits either Steve Johnson or a qualifier in his opening match before possibly running into either Anderson, Bernard Tomic, or Simone Bolelli the last 16. Possible quarterfinal opponents for Nadal include Wawrinka, Dimitrov, and recent nemesis Fabio Fognini (yes, Fognini is actually someone’s nemesis right now).

Should the former world No. 1 advance, a date with Federer could be in the cards for next Saturday. The 33-year-old Swiss, however, may have to make a quick recovery because is still alive at the current Istanbul Open (semifinals vs. Diego Schwartzman). Federer’s Madrid opener will come against either Nick Kyrgios or a qualifier. Other participants in the top quarter are Tomas Berdych, John Isner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Jack Sock.

On the lower side, familiar foes Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer are on a collision course for the quarterfinals. Nishikori will kick off his campaign against David Goffin or Ernests Gulbis (that means Goffin) before potentially meeting Roberto Bautista Agut. Possible opponents for Ferrer prior to the last eight are Tommy Robredo, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and Fernando Verdasco.

At the very bottom of the bracket, Andy Murray is likely to begin his week against Philipp Kohlschreiber. Both men are currently part of the rain-delayed Munich event, which will try to resume quarterfinal action on Saturday. Murray and Kohlschreiber could go head-to-head in the Munich final, as well. Milos Raonic Feliciano Lopez, and Gael Monfils are also in the Murray-Kohlschreiber quarter.

Among the first-round matches to watch in Madrid are Tsonga vs. Lukas Rosol, Dimitrov vs. Donald Young, Verdasco vs. Garcia-Lopez, and Juan Monaco vs. Nicolas Almagro.

14 Comments on Federer top seed in Madrid following Djokovic withdrawal

  1. Rafa is his own nemesis, not Fognini.

    With this tournament, Federer is the oldest player to be seeded No. 1 at a Masters 1000 event.

    Welcome to the second coming of the Weak Era.

  2. I don’t know what to expect here. But I do agree that Rafa is his own nemesis, not the likes of Fognini. He’s got some tricky opponents in his part of the draw. No way am I looked ahead to a possible semifinal meeting with Fed. One at a time.

      • Agree. Fed’s wins in Istanbul are not coming easy. I do not expect him to make the semis in Madrid. With Rafa, well, we have to wait and see. His display against Fognini in Barcelona was so shocking he basically is starting from zero here in Madrid. What shocked me most about that display was his court positioning, or lack thereof. That is something he has to sort out pronto or else we could see Rafa out of the Top 10 very soon.

        Having said that, he has an good draw, all things being equal. He should be able to ease his way into form round by round.

      • Nah, Fed’s just treating Turkey as an experiment to try new things.

        He’ll be his usual No. 2 best-of-the-rest weak era self come Madrid.

  3. Going by what we have seen so far Rafa is far from being considered for the semifinal showing…his current tennis is rather pathetic and there is no reason to think that Madrid as least favorite clay tourney for Rafa would bring any perspective…to think about favorable draw for Rafa? Well, let’s not even go there…anyone right now is dangerous for Rafito…I can just imagine him doubting himself, staying far behind the baseline and missing his first service…to see the light at the end of the tunnel is kind of impossible right now…especially in Madrid…

    • I have to agree about expectations for Rafa in this tournament. Madrid has never been the best clay tournament for Rafa. Not with the altitude and the fact that it’s more a hard court with some clay thrown on top. This has not been his best event in the clay season.

      I also think it’s true that there is no such thing as a favorable draw for Rafa these days. Anyone is a potential threat. Who thought that Rafa could possibly lose to Fognini again in Barcelona on clay? So all bets are off for me.

      I don’t even want to contemplate what another early exit would mean for Rafa. He’s the defending champion with 1000 points on the line.

      If ever there was a time for Rafa to find a way to step up and get it done, this would be it.

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