Madrid 2016: Murray vs. Nadal Semifinal Prediction

I don’t see it being anywhere near this one-sided

Andy Murray vs. Rafael Nadal

Andy Murray lost to Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo despite dominating the first set.  Did Murray let Rafa off of the hook?  Probably, but Murray could be in trouble if Rafa is a more confident player today than he was at Monte Carlo.  Rafa’s 3 set quarterfinal triumph in Madrid is a microcosm of how I view the Spaniard at the moment.  He is clearly a top 5 player in the world.  Clay is his best surface.  Yet, he is not mauling people in the manner he did from 2005-2014 on red clay.  He is better than the Rafa of 2015, but I am not quite sure where I see him in 2016.  Another win over Murray would be a strong sign that Rafa is closing in on his old form (if not already there).  A title in Madrid, even if it did not involve a win over Nole, would cement Rafa as at worst the second most likely player to win Roland Garros.  For some reason, I am leaning toward Murray in this match.  I feel like Rafa may not want to peak until Paris even if he usually feeds off of wins.  If Rafa only has so many herculean efforts left in his tank, he will likely want to use them in Paris.  Also, Madrid has never been Rafa’s best event.  Rafa has reached all 6 finals in which Madrid was held on red clay, but his record is 3-3 in these matches.  By his clay court standards, Madrid has proved a bit tricky for him.  Murray beat Rafa on this very court one year ago.

My Prediction (and I will Probably Regret This): Andy Murray d. Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4

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