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Nadal, Ferrer, Murray Headline Madrid Thursday

Madrid, Spain

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal takes a 7-0 lead over Jarkko Nieminen into their third-round clash.

• ROUND OF 16: Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer and Andy Murray headline the action on Day 5 in the Spanish capital. Nadal takes a 7-0 FedEx H2H record into his clash with Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen as the world No. 1 bids to reach a 63rd ATP Masters 1000 QF. His compatriot Ferrer goes up against No. 9 seed John Isner in the night session, with the Spaniard leading their H2H 4-1. Manola Santana also plays host to Santiago Giraldo vs Andy Murray. The Colombian is looking to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 QF and he’s also hunting for his first top 10 win (0-19).

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• NADAL ON CLAY: The defending champion is bidding for his fourth Madrid title this week. The Spaniard, who is coming off back-to-back QF losses in Monte-Carlo (l. to Ferrer) and Barcelona (l. to Almagro), is 10-2 on clay this season with his lone title on the surface coming in Rio. The last time he lost more than two matches on clay in a season was 2004 (14-3). For the past nine years (2005-13), he has won at least two European Tour clay court titles coming into Roland Garros.

• CLAY MATCH-WIN LEADERS: Nadal and Ferrer, both in action on the main show court today, lead the way among active players in clay-court wins. Kei Nishikori, who plays Milos Raonic on Stadium 3, is undefeated on the surface this year (7-0). 

Rank Player Clay Wins
1 Rafael Nadal 303
2 David Ferrer 271
3 Nicolas Almagro 242
4 Tommy Robredo 238
5 Juan Monaco 201

RANK PLAYER CLAY WINS
1 Rafael Nadal 303
2 David Ferrer 271
3 Nicolas Almagro 242
4 Tommy Robredo 238
5 Juan Monaco 201

• ONE TO WATCH: Dominic Thiem, who takes on Feliciano Lopez today, posted the highest-ranked win of his career over world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka in the 2R, becoming the youngest player to defeat a top 3 opponent since del Potro (20) d. No. 3 Nadal and No. 1 Federer at the US Open in 2009. Cilic (20) also beat No. 2 Murray in the 4R at the US Open that year. The world No. 70, who is the youngest in the top 100, is looking to reach the third QF of his career after advancing to the final eight on home soil in Kitzbühel (l. to Montanes) and Vienna (l. to Tsonga) last year. 

• HOT STREAK: Bob and Mike Bryan are closing in on 100 career Tour-level titles as a team. They have 98 career titles together (Mike has 100 overall, Bob 98), including five in Madrid (2006-07, ‘10, ‘11, ‘13). The defending champions, who open today against Rojer/Tecau, enter the week on a 21-match winning streak after winning five straight titles in Delray Beach, Indian Wells, Miami, Houston and Monte-Carlo. Their career-best streak is 25 straight wins, which they compiled last year. 

DAY 5 FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS

MANOLO SANTANA

[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Nadal leads 7-0

Nadal took sole ownership of 11th place on the Open Era match wins list with a comfortable 6-1, 6-0 victory over Juan Monaco in the 2R. The Spaniard, who converted on six of 10 BP opportunities, surpassed the great Arthur Ashe (683-225) in career wins. The next player in his sights is Boris Becker, who sits 10th on 713 wins.
• Nadal returns to Madrid for the 12th time. He has lifted the title here on three occasions: 2005 (d. Ljubicic), 2010 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Wawrinka). He has failed to reach the QF just once in the last nine years – in 2012 when he fell to Verdasco in the 3R. 
• In his last outing on the ATP World Tour in Barcelona, Nadal lost to Nicolas Almagro for the first time in 11 meetings in the QF. 
• Nadal opened the season by defeating Gael Monfils to clinch the title in Doha. Qatar was the 17th different country the Spaniard had lifted an ATP title in. 
• Nadal collected his 43rd clay-court title and 62nd overall when he defeated Dolgopolov in the inaugural Rio Open final in February. The Spaniard equaled Guillermo Vilas in seventh place on the Open Era titles list with the victory. 
• In Monte-Carlo, Nadal became just the 11th player in the Open Era to win at least 300 matches on clay when he defeated Seppi in the 3R (l. to Ferrer in QF). Countryman Carlos Moya was the last player to win at least 300 career matches on the surface in 2007. 
• Nadal appeared in a career-high 14 finals in 2013, winning 10 titles. He returned to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on October 7 and finished the season in top spot for the third time. 
• Nadal has been ranked in the top five longer than any active player (since May 9, 2005) and his total of 62 career titles is the second-best among active players (Federer 77). 
• Nadal is bidding to reach his 63rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF and third of the season. He is also looking to reach his ninth QF in Madrid. 
Nieminen is making his sixth appearance in Madrid. This is the first time he has gone past the 2R. 
• Nieminen’s best showing of the season came in Montpellier in February when he reached the SF before falling to eventual champion Monfils in three sets. 
• Nieminen finished 2013 ranked inside the top 50 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the ninth time in the past 12 years, highlighted by a final appearance in Dusseldorf (l. to Monaco).
• Nieminen is 11-71 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 0-1 this year. His last top 10 win came over world No. 7 Del Potro en route to the QF in Monte-Carlo last year (l. to Djokovic). 
• Nieminen is looking to reach the QF of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the fifth time in his career and for the first time since Monte-Carlo last year. 

[Q] Santiago Giraldo (COL) vs [7] Andy Murray (GBR)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Murray leads 2-0

Giraldo’s fine form continued as he posted his 15th clay-court win of 2014 with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over No. 11 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Colombian saved three BPs and converted on his only BP chance during the 69-minute encounter. He edged past Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 in the 1R. 
• Giraldo returns to Madrid for the fifth time. He had never gone past the 2R before this year.  
• Giraldo’s highlight of the season came last month at the ATP 500 event in Barcelona where he defeated three top 30 players en route to the final (l. to Nishikori). 
• At Vina del Mar, Giraldo collected his 100th Tour-level match-win en route to the SF (l. to L Mayer).
• Giraldo finished 2013 inside the top 75 for the fourth straight year, highlighted by three ATP World Tour QF appearances – Acapulco, Bogota and Atlanta.
• Giraldo is bidding to reach the QF of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time. 
• Giraldo is 0-19 against top 10 opponents and 0-1 this season. 
Murray opened his account on Wednesday, edging past Nicolas Almagro 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in a topsy-turvy encounter.
• Murray has appeared here seven times. He lifted the title in 2008 – the last year the event was held on hard courts – defeating Federer in the SF and Simon in the final. Since the switch to clay, Murray has reached the QF in three of his four visits, never going beyond that stage.
• Murray advanced to his first SF since undergoing back surgery (in September 2013) in Acapulco in February (l. to Dimitrov 7-6 in 3rd set). He subsequently reached the QF in Miami – his third of the year after the Australian Open (l. to Federer) & Rotterdam (l. to Cilic) – before falling to Djokovic.
• This is Murray’s first ATP World Tour event on clay since Rome last year when he withdrew midway through his opening match with Granollers. He has appeared on clay in Davis Cup, however, posting a 3-1 mark this year. His lone defeat came against Fognini in a 3-2 loss to Italy. 
• Murray finished 2013 in the top four of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the sixth straight season. His year was highlighted by four titles, including a maiden crown at Wimbledon. 
• Murray is bidding to reach his 36th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF and his second of the season, after Miami. He is also looking to reach his fifth QF in Madrid.  

[5] David Ferrer (ESP) vs [9] John Isner (USA)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Ferrer leads 4-1

Ferrer joined Mats Wilander (571) in 27th place on the Open Era all-time wins list with a 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-3 victory over countryman Albert Ramos in two hours and 49 minutes. The Spaniard will surpass Mats Wilander with a win today. He’s also just four wins away from equaling Carlos Moya (575).
• Ferrer returns to Madrid for the 12th time. He has reached the QF five times, including the last four years in a row. He advanced to the SF just once, however, losing at that stage to Federer in 2010.  
• Ferrer clinched his 21st ATP World Tour title in Buenos Aires in February when he defeated Fabio Fognini in the final, ending a seven-match losing streak in ATP finals. 
• Ferrer’s best performance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this year came in Monte-Carlo, where he ended a 17-match losing streak against Nadal on clay in the QF before falling to eventual champ Wawrinka in the SF. His win over Nadal was his fifth career victory over the reigning world No. 1: vs Nadal (3 times), Djokovic and Agassi. He also became the fourth player to beat Nadal multiple times on clay: Djokovic (3), Gaudio (3) and Federer (2).
• Ferrer finished the 2013 season at a year-end best No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It was the third year in a row he finished inside the top five and also the fourth straight year in which he won at least 55 matches. He played an ATP-high 84 matches during the season.
• Ferrer is bidding to reach his 34th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF and his second of the season, after Monte-Carlo. He is also looking to fifth successive QF in Madrid and sixth overall. 
Isner fired down 23 aces as he squeezed past lucky loser Marinko Matosevic 7-6(9), 6-7(5), 7-5 in the 2R, saving the lone BP he faced during the match, which lasted two hours and 39 minutes. The American No. 1 opened with a 7-6(8), 6-4 win over Teymuraz Gabashvili
• Isner is making his fifth visit to Madrid. He has never gone beyond the 3R. 
• Isner returned to the top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after his run to the SF in Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic), regaining top 10 status for the first time since Sept 24, 2012. 
• Isner opened the season with his eighth career ATP World Tour title in Auckland (d. Lu).  
• Isner finished 2013 as the top ranked American for the second year in succession, equaling his year-end best ranking of No. 14. He has finished in the top 20 in the past four seasons. 
• Isner captured two titles in 2013 in Houston and Atlanta. The 6’10’’ Isner’s victory in Houston was his first Tour title on clay and his 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 7-6(2) (no breaks) win over 6’8’’ Anderson in Atlanta was the tallest title game in Tour history. He played in and won the most TBs (38-18) last year. 
• Isner is bidding to reach his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 QF of the season and sixth overall. He is looking to reach his first QF in Madrid.  

ARANTXA SANCHEZ VICARIO

[12] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs [6] Tomas Berdych (CZE)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Dimitrov leads 2-0

Dimitrov opened his account with a pair of wins over wild cards, defeating Spanish youngster Pablo Carreno Busta 6-2, 6-4 before edging past Romanian Marius Copil 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(7). 
• Dimitrov is making his second appearance in the Spanish capital. Last year, he shocked then world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the 2R before falling to Stanislas Wawrinka in the next round. 
• Dimitrov broke the top 20 for the first time in February after a QF appearance at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and a title-winning run at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco (d. No. 18 Gulbis, No. 7 Murray and No. 21 Anderson). In April, the Bulgarian improved to a career-high No. 14 and captured his third career title in Bucharest (d. Rosol in F). 
• Dimitrov is just one of two players born in the 1990s to win multiple ATP World Tour titles – after Raonic, who has five titles to his name.
• At 22, Dimitrov is the youngest player in the top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. 
• In 2013, Dimitrov improved his ranking for a sixth year in succession. He became the first Bulgarian to win an ATP World Tour event when he defeated Ferrer in the final of Stockholm.
• Dimitrov is bidding to reach just his second ATP Masters 1000 QF after advancing to the final eight for the first time at this level in Monte-Carlo last year (l. to Nadal). 
• Dimitrov is 5-26 lifetime against top 10 opponents and 1-2 this year with his lone victory coming over No. 7 Andy Murray in Acapulco. 
Berdych kick-started his Madrid campaign with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Kevin Anderson, improving his record against the South African to 11-0. 
• Berdych is making his 10th appearance in Madrid. His best showing came in 2012 when he reached the final before falling to Federer in 3 sets. He reached the SF last year (l. to Wawrinka).
• After falling in the Australian Open SF (l. to Wawrinka), Berdych compiled an 11-match winning streak – the longest of his career. He kick-started the run in Czech Republic’s Davis Cup victory over the Netherlands before clinching his first title in more than a year in Rotterdam (d. Marin Cilic in F). The Czech then defeated world No. 10 Tsonga en route to the Dubai final where Federer ended his streak. His previous best unbeaten run was nine matches (2005-06).
• Since Dubai, Berdych’s standout performances came in Miami where he reached the SF (withdrew vs. Nadal due to gastroenteritis) and in Oeiras (l. to Berlocq in F after winning the first set 6-0). 
• Berdych finished 2013 in the top 10 for the fourth year in a row, reaching a career high of No. 5 in August. Despite reaching the QF or better in 15 of his 23 tournaments, Berdych was the only player in the top 10 not to win a title in 2013. 
• Berdych is bidding to reach his 30th ATP Masters 1000 QF and second of the season, after Miami. He is also looking to reach his fifth QF in Madrid. 

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) vs [Q] Dominic Thiem (AUT)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

Lopez posted his highest-ranked win of the season, seeing off world No. 16 Mikhail Youzhny 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 while saving nine of 10 BP chances. His previous highest ranked win this season came against No. 37 Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Acapulco.
• Lopez notched his 90th career win on clay with a 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-2 victory over Sao Paulo champion Federico Delbonis in the 1R, saving 13 of 14 BPs during the encounter.
• Lopez returns to Madrid for the 13th time. He has reached the QF three times: 2003 (l. to Federer), 2007 (l. to Federer) and 2008 (l. to Nadal). He fell in the 1R on his last two outings here. 
• Lopez advanced to his only QF of the year in Delray Beach in February (l. to No. 142 Johnson). 
• Lopez finished 2013 ranked inside the top 50 for the seventh year in a row, highlighted by a first grass-court title at Eastbourne and third overall. 
• Lopez is bidding to reach his ninth ATP Masters 1000 QF and first since Shanghai since 2011 (l. to Ferrer in SF). He is also looking to advance to his fourth QF in Madrid, his city of residence.  
Thiem, who is making his debut in Madrid this week, notched the biggest win of his young career when he defeated world No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 – converting on three of six BP chances – in the 2R. With the win, Thiem, at 20, is the youngest player to defeat a top 3 opponent since del Potro (20) d. No. 3 Nadal (SF) and No. 1 Federer (F) at the US Open in 2009. Cilic (20) also beat No. 2 Murray in the 4R at the US Open that year.
• Thiem clinched his first main draw win in the Spanish capital with a 6-4, 6-2 upset of world No. 32 Dmitry Tursunov in the 1R. 
• Thiem has successfully come through qualifying a remarkable seven times this season. The only time the youngster failed to qualify in 2014 was in Acapulco where he lost in the final round of qualifying in a third set TB to Goffin. He is 17-1 in qualifying this year. Last year, the qualifying leaders were Brands and Giraldo, who both came through qualifying six times. 
• At 20 years and eight months, Thiem is the youngest player ranked inside the top 100. 
• Thiem’s best performance of the season came in Indian Wells where he advanced to the 3R on his Masters 1000 debut (l. to Benneteau). He also reached the 2R in Miami (l. to Robredo). 
• Thiem finished 2013 ranked inside the top 125 and was the youngest player to do so. 
• Thiem is looking to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 QF and third overall. His only previous Tour-level QF outings came last year in Kitzbuhel (l. to Montanes) and Vienna (l. to Tsonga). 

STADIUM 3

[8] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs [10] Kei Nishikori (JPN)


FedEx Head 2 Head: Nishikori leads 1-0

[LL] Lukasz Kubot (POL) vs Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Bautista Agut leads 1-0

Ernests Gulbis (LAT) vs Marin Cilic (CRO)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Cilic leads 2-0

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