Second seed Rafael Nadal is trying to reach his 50th ATP Masters 1000 final, but he will have to defeat reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday at the Mutua Madrid Open to get there. The winner will face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who eliminated this year’s Barcelona and Indian Wells champion Dominic Thiem 7-6(2), 7-6(4) earlier in the day.
Nadal leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Tsitsipas 3-0 and has claimed all three wins in the past 13 months. The Spaniard has yet to drop a set against Tsitsipas and he will take confidence from his previous success as he continues his push for a record 34th Masters 1000 trophy. Court Manolo Santana has become backyard territory for Nadal as the five-time champion gets ready for his 11th semi-final at this event.
Although Nadal arrived in Madrid without a title during the first four months of the season for the first time since 2004, his clay-court prowess has been in full flight this week. He’s dropped just 16 games in three rounds and looked particularly impressive in his quarter-final win over Stan Wawrinka. Nadal has won 96 per cent of his service games (26/27) while leading the tournament in return games won with 40 per cent (10/25).
But eighth seed Tsitsipas has earned a reputation for thriving on playing in big stadiums against the world’s best players. The Greek star has won more matches (26) than anyone else in 2019 and is just one match away from his fourth ATP Tour final of the season.
“He’s a young player. He has a lot of potential, a lot of energy. He’s playing well [and] has won a lot of matches in a row. It’s going to be one of these matches that is an opportunity,” said Nadal. “He’s been playing well recently and it is an opportunity to test my level of game and to confirm those good feelings that I have had today on the court.”
ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2019
MANOLO SANTANA start 1:30 pm
Not Before 4:00 pm
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) def.  Dominic Thiem (AUT) 7-6(2), 7-6(4)
Not Before 6:30 pm
Not Before 9:00 pm
 Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs  Rafael Nadal (ESP)