Well a week that’s certainly been full of surprises...
The conditions in the Spanish capital made for some interesting results, with the high altitude and clay that seems to change with the weather. John Isner and Aryna Sabalenka were two players that really found their groove, powering through the competition with big serves and powerful ground strokes.
Where as highly tipped favourites such as Stefanos Tsitsipas (Swaganos), Simona Halep and the Russian trio of Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev all suffered early exits.
Even the King of Clay himself wasn’t safe, he’s never been as dominant on the Madrid clay as he is on the rest of the clay courts, and it showed, as Rafa Nadal has now lost his last 3 meetings with Alexander Zverev, although this was his first on clay.
The week concluded with two deserving champions, who i’m sure would of been extra motivated, given previous disappointments. Firstly, Aryna Sabalenka finally overcame her nemesis of this season Ashleigh Barty, in a competitive final on Saturday, snapping the Australians winning streak, to claim her second title of the year.
Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrittini would close out an excellent week of tennis, and they did not disappoint, both men were serving at their best, and throwing down in some intense and tight rallies. It was Sascha who prevailed, bouncing back from being the “Dosser of the Week” previously, winning his first Masters 1000 title since 2018, but credit also to the Italian, who was playing his maiden Masters final, and he played his part in the 3 set battle.
With so many matches packed into this week long Masters 1000 event it certainly didn’t lack in the Highlights. From Carlos Alcaraz getting to play his hero Rafael Nadal on his 18th birthday (albeit getting no mercy from Rafa losing 6-1 6-2).
To Daniil Medvedev’s ongoing relationship problems with clay “I don’t want to play here, on this surface” as he took a angry swipe at the court.
To Benoit Paire doing the unthinkable and winning a match! If only his posse (complete with t shirts) could have cheered him on further than the second round...
Gladiator of the Week: Casper Ruud
The unsung hero for me in Madrid was the hot prospect Casper Ruud. Making his third consecutive Masters Semi final, beating the likes of Felix Auger-Alliasime, in form Alexander Bublik and one of the tournament favourites in Stefanos Tsitsipas! Unfortunately he just didn’t quite have enough to stop the Italian Hammer that was Matteo Berrittini, but surely a first Masters final and title can’t be too far down the line for the young Norwegian.
Now moving onto the moment I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for...
DOSSER! Of The Week: Nominations
A. Pablo Carreno-Busta
Coming into the tournament after making the semi finals of Barcelona the week before, I’m sure many (myself included) were expecting a good run. In his first test against the qualifier Federico Delbonis, he seemingly booked his spot in the second round being a set up and 4-0 up in the second... to somehow lose the next 6 games to gift the second set, and crash out after losing the 3rd set 6-3.
B. Simona Halep
After setting her sights on a strong clay court swing, she has to be disappointed with herself.... a big favourite for the title, surprisingly crashed out to the ever consistent Elise Mertens in the round of 16
C. Jannik Sinner
One of the inform players this year, many of us were salivating at the thoughts of a potential third round clash with the King of Clay of Rafael Nadal... however Sinner slipped up against fellow prospect Popyrin in second round straight sets exit!
D. Christian Garin
For the third straight week since I began this, Garin appears on the list of nominations, despite knocking out Medvedev, he was up a set and 3-1 against Berrettini, to throw away the match in some fashion, losing the next 11 games in a row... terrible.
E. Aslan Karatsev (Sorry Ben)
GTL podcast cult hero, Aslannnnn Karatsev fell short of the mark, as he was overpowered by the inform Bublik, losing in straight sets, I’m just over an hour... we expect better Aslan!
F. Rafael Nadal
Not much to say here, after cruising past two easy opponent, came up way short of the mark against last weeks “Dosser of the Week” Alexander Zverev losing in straight sets and hitting a measly 6 winners!
If you would like to vote on your Dosser of the Week, please click on the link below, where you can also get involved in the GTL discord...
Dosser of the Week: Results
The results are in and I can confirm your dosser of the week, pipping Garin and Rafa in the vote is......
Pablo Carreno Busta