Rafael Nadal and Diego Schwartzman on Collision Course at Barcelona Open 2021

Published 04/17/2021, 8:43 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


As Monte Carlo Masters 2021 nears its conclusion, the ATP extravaganza moves to the clay courts of Barcelona Open 2021. Despite it being an ATP 500 event, it has seen some famous champions in the past, none more so than Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard is an 11-time champion in the tournament and is headlining the draw this year as well.

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For the third consecutive year, Nadal is the top seed in Barcelona. After him comes the 2018 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas and the third seed is Andrey Rublev and the fourth seed is Diego Schwartzman.

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Barcelona Open has a 48 player draw, and all seeded players receive first-round byes. Defending champion Dominic Thiem is not participating this year.

Rafael Nadal looking for a record 12th title in Barcelona

Rafael Nadal’s slated quarterfinal opponent could be David Goffin. Furthermore, 4th seed Diego Schwartzman is on Nadal’s half of the draw. The other notable players on Nadal’s side are Kei Nishikori, Fabio Fognini, and Karen Khachanov.

Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Nadal is an 11-time champion in Barcelona and will look for the 12th title in 2021. There aren’t any alarm bells ringing just yet, despite his shock defeat against World No.8 Andrey Rublev at the Monte Carlo Masters. Nadal is yet to reach a semifinal in 2021 and has a below-par 6-2 win-loss record.

Stefanos Tsitsipas road to challenge Rafael Nadal in ATP Barcelona Open 2021

Tsitsipas could face Canadian talent Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinals and then could face Russian stalwart Andrey Rublev. Tsitsipas has prodigies on his side in the form of Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud.

Stefanos Tsitsipas reacts during his third round match against Chile’s Cristian Garin REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Tsitsipas was absolutely thrashed when he played the 2018 final against Nadal. His 2021 has offered no luck until now. He has reached the latter stages of various tournaments, but nothing fruitful has returned.

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Title favorite Andrey Rublev’s Barcelona draw

Andrey Rublev could first face Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals. He then has Stefanos Tsitsipas on his side. Rublev could also face Casper Ruud early on and then could book a clash against Jannik Sinner.

Andrey Rublev celebrates winning the final against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Rublev accepted the wildcard to play in Barcelona. He has at least reached the quarterfinals of every tournament he has participated in. The Russian is slowly adding all the building blocks necessary to challenge the elites in 2021.

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Diego Schwartzman’s Barcelona Open draw

Schwartzman could face a tricky match against Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarterfinals and then could play heavy-favorite Rafael Nadal. Schwartzman could also see Fognini and Novak Djokovic conqueror Dan Evans in the latter stages of the tournament.

Schwartzman celebrates winning the final against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

Schwartzman has had a decent 2021. After the highs of 202o, the Argentine has slumped to an unimpressive 10-6 win-loss record. Apart from his Argentina Open triumph, he has suffered early exits at notable tournaments like Australian Open 2021, Miami Open, and Monte Carlo Masters.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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