The two most accomplished men in the Madrid Open draw take centre stage in the second round on Wednesday, as defending champion Rafael Nadal squares off with Gael Monfils and 12-time major winner Novak Djokovic faces Kyle Edmund.
Nadal, 31, is playing his opening match in the Spanish capital after a first round bye, and is looking for his 14th win over former world no. 6 Monfils. The athletic Frenchman took a set off the Spaniard in their Monte Carlo Masters final showdown two years ago, and has the weapons needed to cause an upset. Whether he has the mentality and the consistency is another question entirely.
Meanwhile, Djokovic – ranked down at no. 12 after almost two years of mental and physical struggles – is looking to capitalise on an encouraging first round win over 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori. The Serb has won all three previous meetings with 23-year-old Kyle Edmund, but has not tackled the Brit’s impressive forehand since the rising star made his ATP breakthrough. Edmund made a surprise run to the Australian Open semifinals in January, and coupled with his solid results on clay, this warns that he is not to be underestimated in Madrid.
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