Day 5: Novak Djokovic meets Andy Murray for the first time in five years ATP Tour

All 16 remaining men in Mutua Madrid Open the individual draw will compete on Thursday at full slope at Caja Magica, led by a shop match between the best holders Novak Djokovic and wild card Andy Murraywho will open the match at the Manolo Santana Stadium.

Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz – who will play on his 19th birthday – will represent Spanish interests in the central court, doc Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas take care of the stadium Arantxa Sanchez.

The top three doubles winners will also compete for places in the quarterfinals of the ATP Masters 1000.

Watch the singles draw | See the pair draw | See the schedule

[1] Novak Djokovic (SER) vs. [WC] Andy Murray (GBR)

Djokovic and Murray opened their ATP Head2Head account 16 years ago in Madrid, and the Serb won in three sets when the tournament was played on indoor hard courts. On Thursday, they will meet again in the Spanish capital in their first match since the 2017 Doha finals, also in three sets for Djokovic.

Each of their last seven matches has reached the finals, including the 2016 ATP finals, where Murray won his 24th consecutive match in a match the winner takes all for world number one. 1. They also met in the finals of all four Grand Slams and faced in all nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in their 36-game history.

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Both showed a form worthy of a final set to qualify for the 16 finals in Madrid. Murray was fired Dominic Thiem and 14. seed Denis Shapovalovwhile Djokovic led to the defeat, as he said, of “the best performances of the year”. Gael Monfils.

Murray, the world number 78, holds an 8-1 record in first-round matches this season and has recorded consecutive wins for the first time since reaching the Champions League match in Sydney in January. Now he deserves a chance to try out his game against world number one.

“In theory, I shouldn’t have any chances in a match. He’s obviously number one in the world [and] I’m playing with a metal hook, so I shouldn’t have a chance in a match, ”Murray said after reaching the third round.“ It’s a great opportunity for me to see where my game is and to play against it again.

“We’ve had so many big battles over the years at some of the biggest tournaments in the world. We played in the final, I mean all four Grand Slams, we played here in the final, and I didn’t have that opportunity to play against him for long. I didn’t know if I would ever get that chance, so I’ll enjoy it, I’ll have a fantastic attitude in the match, do my best and see where I am. “

Djokovic, who has a 25-11 advantage in his rivalry with the Briton, was full of praise for his 34-year-old ahead of their meeting.

“It’s moving well, it’s playing better and better. It’s really fantastic to see, because he’s an important player for our game. He left a mark in the history of our sport by winning more slams and gold medals and [reaching] Number 1 in the world. He is one of the most important names we have, “said the Serb.

“It’s great to have him still compete and even play [a] the high level of how time passes is impressive, considering the surgery and what it has gone through in the last few years. His resilience and fighting spirit are truly inspiring. ”

[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. [Q] David Goffin (BEL)

Nadal looked like he never left on Wednesday after returning after a six-week break due to injury while battling form Miomir Kecmanović in straight sets. But the Spaniard, who is looking for his sixth Madrid title, is not going ahead because he is coming back after a broken rib.

“I am leaving the match very, very happy,” Nadal said at his post-match press conference. “You have to be honest with yourself whenever you can. You have to be honest with yourself. My preparation did not exist. You can’t expect big things in the beginning, because before coming here the first day of training was last Thursday. I trained very, very little.

“I could play for an hour today [and] 55 minutes against an opponent who has played very well over the past months, therefore [it is] really good victory “, he added “Great value for that. One hour [and] 55 minutes on the field helps me a lot to achieve my ultimate goal, which is to recover my previous health and previous condition. I’m very excited about that. “

To this day, Goffin has enjoyed a strong season on clay, reaching the Marrakesh final and the Monte Carlo final. He has now transferred that form to Madrid, where he has recorded four wins in a row, including two in qualifying. The Belgian passed Aslan Karatsev and Botić van de Zandschulp in the main draw book the seventh ATP Head2Head match against Nadal.

Nadal leads the series 4-2, winning all four matches on clay, but losing both competitions on hard ground, including their last match in 2020. ATP Cup quarter finals.

[7] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. [9] Cameron Norrie (GBR)

Playing on their 19th birthday, home favorite Alcaraz will strive to score 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head against Norrie in this evening’s match, following wins in a row in 2021. US Open and Indian Wells in 2022. He is looking for his fourth ATP Tour title of the season and, after a string of titles in Barcelona, ​​can finish the Spanish double with four more wins in Madrid.

Alcaraz entered the tournament with a win against Nikoloz Basilashvili in which he retaliated from behind in both sets in a 6-3, 7-5 victory. A year after losing to Nadal in the second round of his Madrid debut, the Murcia-born returned as the ATP Masters 1000 champion thanks to his stellar performance earlier this season in Miami.

“I think I’m more mature now,” he said, referring to his last appearance in the Spanish capital. One year isn’t too much time to mature, but I think I’m a different player now, a different person. I’m getting on my nerves better than before and I think I’m ready to play games like this in stadiums like this in front of a lot of people. I feel comfortable in guys like that [of matches]. “

Norrie was a quarterfinalist in Barcelona, ​​breaking into the third round of Madrid with tough wins Soon Kwon and John Isner. The ninth seed is looking for his sixth quarterfinal in the last eight competitions, highlighted by his title at Delray Beach.

Best of all

Four ATP Tour matches are played on Thursday at Arantxa Sanchez. Sixth seed Andrei Rublev opens against Daniel Evansfollowed by the 12th holder Hubert Hurkacz take over qualification Dusan Lajovic. Another qualifier, #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musettiwill try to disrupt the other holder Alexander Zverev before the fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas fights abruptly Grigor Dimitrov.

The meeting of the first 10 leaders leads the action in the field 3, s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Grešnik set to equalize for the first time. Duo in pairs with first holders Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury he will open his Madrid campaign after that match, meeting the German Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

Duplicates other seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos will open the game on field 3 against the Spanish wild cards Pablo Carreno Busta and Pedro Martinezfollowed by third holders from Croatia Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavić taking over Simone Bolelli and Ivan Dodig.

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