The ATP 250 tournaments are not over yet, with 3 finals still to come (and the last semifinal is about to start as I'm writing this), but the Madrid Masters 1000 draw is already out, and has a lot of potential for some very interesting matches. I filled in the ATP challenge draw today, and I'm already certain that about half of my predictions will turn out wrong.
So, what do we have?
Rafael Nadal is the first seed, of course, and his first interesting match will probably come in the 3rd round, against Juan Martin Del Potro. Del Potro has to get there first, and for that he'll have to get throught Mikhail Youzhny, and either Marin Cilic or Potito Starace. Considering the fact that he's one of the finalists this week, he's probably the favorite against any of them, but won't he be too exhausted, going straight from Estoril to Madrid?
In the same quarter, Jurgen Melzer will have a chance to meet one or two Frenchmen (Gasquet, Llodra), one of two US players (Roddick or Querrey), or maybe one or two qualifiers.
Prediction for the QF: Nadal def. Melzer
A very interesting first match here features another of this week's finalists - Feliciano Lopez, against the currently-potential-finalist, Milos Raonic --
And just as I was writing it, Raonic withdrew from his semifinals against Verdasco, so I guess we won't have that match, since Raonic would probably skip Madrid now... Pity :(
But the winner of Lopez-whoever will play against Federer. Roger will have a chance to meet another current finalist, Verdasco, in his 3rd round.
We also have Almagro-Tsonga in the first round here, and we might get a re-match of the Australian Open R16 between Dolgopolov and Soderling (Dolgo will have to beat Santiago Giraldo for this).
Prediction for the QF: Federer def. Soderling
This, in my opinion, is the most open part of the draw - we have Davydenko-Granollers (winner against Berdych), Karlovic-Monfils, Troicki-Mayer, Simon-Ljubicic (winner against Murray), and some more. Davydenko and Mayer will play tomorrow in the final in Munich, Troicki was a bit injured in Belgrade today, and Murray had that injury in Monte Carlo during his match with Rafa, so it's anyone's guess who'll actually come out of this quarter.
Prediction for the QF: Murray def. Davydenko
Here we have an all-American first round between Mardy Fish and John Isner, but whoever the winner is, he probably won't go far - David Ferrer awaits in the 3rd round, and if he's over his injury from last week, I can't see anyone beating him in that section.
In the second half of the quarter, Novak Djokovic (the last of this week's finalists) will meet either Ernests Gulbis or Kevin Anderson. Provided he'll get to the 3rd round, he might play against Juan Carlos Ferrero, who got back to the tour with some nice results in Barcelona last week, or maybe Stanislas Wawrinka, who lost his first match in Munich.
Prediction for the QF: Djokovic def. Ferrer
Nadal def. Federer
Djokovic def. Murray
So yes, I think we'll get a third Masters final between Rafa and Novak. And I think it'll end with the same result as the last two. A girl can dream, right? ;)