Barcelona Open 2021 Semifinal: Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreno Busta Preview, Head-to-Head & Prediction

Published 04/23/2021, 11:36 PM EDT
BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 24: Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Leonardo Mayer of the Argentina during the round of 32 match on day two of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell at Real Club De Tenis Barcelona on April 24, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)


The second semifinal of the ATP 500 Barcelona Open 2021 will see two Spaniards fight for the final spot. 11-time champion Rafael Nadal will take on sixth seed and good friend Pablo Carreno Busta.

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Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea

Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreno Busta: Preview

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Surprisingly, this is only the first semifinal for the Mallorcan in his 2021 season. Besides Barcelona, Rafael Nadal has played in the Australian Open and the Monte-Carlo Masters events.

At both the previous venues, the 34-year-old Spaniard saw defeat in the quarterfinals. However, playing in his home tournament on his preferred surface (clay), Rafa is starting to find his peak.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion outclassed Ilya Ivashka,  Kei Nishikori, and Cameron Norrie to become the Barcelona Open 2021 semifinalist.

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Pablo Carreno Busta, unlike Rafa, played for Team Spain in the ATP Cup 2021 and reached the semifinals. Furthermore, he even picked up his first ATP title of this year at Andalucia Open, Spain.

Concerningly, the 29-year-old has not brought any good results in the other tournaments he has played. And now, he is facing the ultimate challenge to make it into the Barcelona Open final.

Carreno Busta defeated Jordan Thompson, Bernabe Zapata Miralles, and fourth seed Diego Schwartzman on his way to meet Nadal.

Nadal vs Carreno Busta: Head-to-Head

It would be the eighth time Rafa and Pablo lock horns on the ATP Tour. Until now, the veteran has maintained a clean 7-0 advantage against the younger Spaniard.

Moreover, Nadal has outfoxed Carreno Busta on all the four occasions they have met on clay in straight sets. It begs the question – can the underdog drag the king of clay to a three-setter or even pull off a big upset?

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Nadal vs Carreno Busta: Prediction

The 11-time champion did not start well in Barcelona, taking three sets to win his first three rounds. Although he won his last match against Norrie in straight sets, he had brought the second set close to his neck.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea

But this isn’t a worry for Rafa as he is still freely moving around the court and dictating games. Also, he has improved his first serve percentage considerably to pose a formidable threat to Carreno Busta.

To win against Nadal in Barcelona, Pablo will need to be unpredictable and aggressive throughout the match. A loss in tempo from Pablo and the 450 times winner on clay will snatch away the final spot. Let us see if the younger Spaniard can find the eighth-time charm against Nadal.

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The winner will meet Monte-Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or 19-year-old Miami Open finalist Jannik Sinner in the final.

Prediction: Rafa to qualify for the 12 Barcelona Open final in straight sets.

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Purav Joshi

662 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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