As described in a May 7 ESPN report, 2014 Madrid Open (third-round) tennis action continues Thursday morning with Rafael Nadal taking on Jarkko Nieminen. This (men’s singles) match, which will be televised on Tennis Channel and streaming live on ESPN3, takes place around 9:40 a.m. ET (TV schedule).
Arantxa Sanchez Stadium in La Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain, will be the site for today’s main attraction. Because Nadal and Nieminen will follow the conclusion of Grigor Dimitrov vs. Tomas Berdych, tennis fans can expect this clash to get underway around 10 a.m. EST.
For the defending champion, Nadal comes in looking for his third Madrid Open title, but most importantly, desperate to ounce back following two uncharacteristic loses. It appears that after ruling the clay-court season for nine years, the “King” has finally lost a step.
It all started in Mote-Carlo, as Nadal went into this year’s Masters 1000 series as an eight-time champion and last year’s runner up. In an unexpected turn of events, fellow countryman, David Ferrer stunned the 13-time Grand Slam winner in the quarterfinals to the tune of 7-6(1), 6-4.
Nadal’s clay slump continued in last month’s (ATP’s 500 Series) Barcelona Open, where he was seemingly untouchable. Going in as a three-time defending champ and winner of eight of the last nine Barcelona titles, the 27-year-old was again eliminated in the quarterfinals by another Spaniard in Nicolas Almagro by a final score of 6-2, 6-7(5), 4-6.
In Nieminen, Nadal faces a savvy veteran who, much like Almagro last month, is desperate to get his first win against the great Rafa. Head-to-head, the 32-year-old from Finland is winless in seven tries, but hasn’t crossed paths with the world’s No.1 since last year in Mote-Carlo.
According to tennis oddsmakers, Rafael Nadal is a mammoth -6600 money-line favorite against Jarkko Nieminen, whose odds of an upset stand at a whopping +1800 this afternoon. Finally, the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 17 games.
Can Nadal regain the form that earned him the title of “King of Clay”, or is Nieminen ready to follow on Almagro’s footsteps and get on the board against him? Don’t miss what is sure to be an entertaining clash of international tennis stars. Watch Rafael Nadal battle Jarkko Nieminen on Tennis Channel or ESPN’s free live stream right after Berdych and Dimitrov settle their score.