ATP Cup 2021: Rafael Nadal vs Alex de Minaur Preview, Head-to-Head & Prediction

Published 01/31/2021, 11:56 PM EST
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Rafael Nadal of Spain and Alex de Minaur of Australia pose during the coin toss prior to their semi-final singles match on day nine of the 2020 ATP Cup at Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


World No.2 Rafael Nadal will lead Spain’s campaign against Australia at the 2021 ATP Cup. Nadal will face Alex De Minaur in the group stage match on Tuesday, 2nd of February. At the inaugural ATP Cup last year, Spain had thrashed the Australian team 3-0 in the semifinals.

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This will be Nadal’s first match of the 2021 season, although he played an exhibition match against Dominic Thiem in Adelaide recently. The Spaniard looked in good touch during the exhibition match; however, a competitive tour match comes with its own dynamics.

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball during the quarterfinals of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Alex De Minaur enters the match against the backdrop of winning the title at the ATP Antalya Open in January. The 21-year-old has improved his game significantly and recorded his best Grand Slam last year by reaching the quarterfinals of the 2020 US Open.

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Rafael Nadal vs Alex De Minaur head-to-head

The duo has played thrice against each other, with Nadal leading the rivalry 3-0. They last played in the semifinals of the 2020 ATP Cup, which Nadal won in a grueling three-set match.

The other two victories to Nadal’s name came in the Round of 32 at the 2019 Australian Open and the 2018 Wimbledon Championships.

Nadal vs Alex De Minaur prediction

Considering Alex De Minaur already has a few matches under his belt, his current form can trouble Nadal on the hard court. The Australian’s agility and powerful groundstrokes will pose a reasonable challenge for Nadal in his opening match.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Paris Masters – AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France – Australia’s Alex De Minaur in action during his third-round match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will aim to dictate the game with his heavy forehands and dominate the rallies from the baseline. Despite Nadal’s lack of match practice, the Spaniard will have the upper hand in the upcoming group stage match.

With the spectators back in the stadium, both players will feed off the crowd’s energy while they battle hard to lead their respective teams.

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Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in three sets.

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Kshitij Tayal

394 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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