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Nadal Back, Defending Champ Alcaraz Out in Barcelona

Four-Time Finalist Tsitsipas Favored to Break Through

The ATP stop in Barcelona will have a new winner as two-time defending champion Carlos Alcaraz was a late withdrawal from the tournament. When looking at the tennis odds, Stefanos Tsitsipas is now the favorite in the Barcelona Open.

Along with the withdrawal by Alcaraz, the biggest news item heading into the event is the return of Rafael Nadal, An 11-time champion in Barcelona, Nadal hasn’t played on the ATP Tour since January. He could draw No. 4 seed Alex de Minaur if he wins his first match.

Nadal Back, Defending Champ Alcaraz Out in Barcelona
Spain's Rafael Nadal-PAU BARRENA / AFP

The big winner is Fabian Marozsan, who was set to be an unseeded player. He now moves into the top line of the draw to replace Alcaraz and receives a bye into the second round.

Facundo Diaz Acosta, Roberto Bautista Agut and American Brandon Nakashima were among the early winners in the first round in Barcelona.

This is another of the warmup tournaments leading into the French Open. Nadal is fourth at +400 and Tsitsipas is tied for seventh in the French Open men’s singles outrights according to the tennis futures odds.

Keep on reading for more on the ATP tour stop in Barcelona, with three players in the top 10 in the current ATP rankings entered into the 48-player singles draw.

Next up on the ATP schedule is the two-week Masters event in Madrid, followed by the Italian Open.

The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell main draw began on Monday, with the singles final set for April 21.


Fourth Time The Charm?

Tsitsipas has been threatening to seal the deal in Barcelona as he reached the final in 2018, 2021 and 2023. He lost to Nadal twice, including falling 7-5 in the third set in 2021 in the first three-set men’s singles final in Barcelona since 2012. Last year, he fell to Alcaraz.

When the draw came out, it looked as if Tsitsipas could be on a collision course with Alcaraz in the quarterfinals. That ended with Alcaraz pulling out of the tournament.

Now No. 10 Lorenzo Musetti, No. 15 Borna Coric, and No. 17 Fabian Marozsan are the only seeded players in his portion of the draw.

Tsitsipas moved up five spots to No. 7 in the latest ATP rankings after beating top-10 players Alexander Zverev, Jannik Sinner and Casper Ruud to win the Monte Carlo title. When looking at the tennis best bets, he is priced at +300 to win his first title in Barcelona with Musetti seventh at +1800.


Rafa is Back?

After fan favorite Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Monte Carlo tournament, those running the Barcelona event had to be holding their breath. However, Nadal is still in the field in Barcelona.

Nadal opens up with Italy’s Flavio Cobolli, with the winner squaring off with No. 4 seed de Minaur.

It would be hard to find a player who has been more dominant in a tournament than Nadal has been at Barcelona.

He won the title every year from 2005 to 2009. After withdrawing from the 2010 event due to fatigue, Nadal won the next three Barcelona tournaments before falling in the quarterfinals in 2014 and in the third round in 2015. He then won four of the next five tournaments before missing the last two events.

Nadal, who hasn’t played in a Grand Slam tournament since losing in the second round at the 2023 Australian Open, is hoping to be healthy enough to play in the French Open for the first time since he won the event in 2022. It was his 14th French Open title.

Nadal lost in the quarterfinals at Brisbane in January in his only tournament so far this year. He is tied for second at +500 in the Barcelona outrights.


A Look at the Other Contenders

Five of the eight quarterfinalists in Monte Carlo are on the entry list in Barcelona, led by No. 8 seed Casper Ruud. Tsitsipas, de Minaur, Karen Khachanov and Ugo Humbert. They are all players worth watching in Barcelona.

Tsitsipas and de Minaur not only reached the 2023 Barcelona quarterfinals, they squared off in that round, with Tsitsipas winning in straight sets.

Lorenzo Musetti, a semifinalist at Barcelona in 2023, and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina are other players who have played well at the Barcelona Open.

When looking at potential quarterfinal matchups, it could be Ruud (+500 in the odds to win the Barcelona title) meeting up with either Sebastian Baez (+2500) or Nicolas Jarry (+2800) and de Minaur possibly getting Ugo Humbert unless Nadal can conjure up some of his old magic on the clay courts in Barcelona. Rublev, the No. 2 seed, could match up with seventh-seeded Khachanov.


A Look Back

Only four of the top eight seeds made it through to the quarterfinals in the 2023 Barcelona Open.

When looking at the ATP scores, third-seeded Ruud fell to Francisco Cerundolo in the third round, No. 5 seed Frances Tiafoe stumbled in his first match to Emil Ruusuvoiri while No. 6 seed Khachanov and No. 7 seed Cam Norrie each were eliminated in the third round.

No. 4 seed Jannik Sinner couldn’t take the court in the quarterfinals as one of the top contenders was eliminated.

No. 2 seed Tsitsipas needed three sets to outlast Musetti in the semifinals. Meanwhile, Alcaraz lost four games to Daniel Evans in the semifinals and seven to Tsitsipas in the title match to join Nadal, Thomas Muster, Andres Gomez, Mats Wilander, Ilie Nastase, Roy Emerson and Herbert Flam as the only players to win back-to-back titles at the Barcelona Open.

It was just the second time in the last six tournaments that the top two seeds met in the Barcelona Open final.


Way Too Early Predictions for Semifinals, Final

  • Top Half Semifinal Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Alex de Minaur
  • Bottom Half Semifinal Prediction: Casper Rudd vs Karen Khachanov
  • Final: Tsitsipas vs Ruud



Questions Of The Day

Who is favored to win the title in Barcelona?

Stefanos Tsitsipas has the best odds at +335 to win the title in Barcelona followed by Casper Ruud at +500 and Rafael Nadal at +550.

How many U.S. players are in the field in the Barcelona Open?

Brandon Nakashima is the only American in the singles draw at Barcelona. He defeated Daniel Evans in the first round and now faces No. 2 seed Andrey Rublev.

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