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By Rohit Sharma
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There is a popular saying in the world of SPORTS - 'Records are meant to be broken'. Perhaps Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal can relate to it in more than one way. Rightly so as both Agassi and the Spanish Armada- Rafa are tied for most number of Masters series triumphs - 17. Nadal enters the home event in Madrid with major stake at history to surpass Andre Agassi's record set in 2004. Interestingly, another sporting Hero has a chance to tie these two 'Icons' and win his 17th Masters trophy and no marks for guessing, who the Maestro is. Roger Federer, with 16 titles comes to Madrid with hopes of title defence and is under severe pressure due to bad form and shocking losses. Let's take a look at the draw-analysis and find out more about the ever-changing world of men's tennis.
Top seed Federer is placed in the top half of the draw with a possible second round clash with former world number one Carlos Moya. However, his real threat will come in the pre-quarterfinals in the name of Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat him on clay last year. Miami champion Andy Roddick and BMW Open winner Mikhail Youzhny are placed in the same quarter and can provide some swashbuckling tennis as a result of an expected clash with the Swiss. Despite bad form, Federer is a strong contender for the semifinal spot from this quarter. Interestingly, Federer's conquerer in Rome, Ernests Gulbis is also a part of the same half and is worthy of repeating the upset victory once again.
Home favourite and last year's finalist Rafael Nadal has been placed in the bottom half and is expected to reach quarterfinals without much ado. However, the Spaniard may face some challenge in Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last eight stage. However, after considering the current form, it is pretty safe to pick Nadal as the semifinalist from this quarter. The top quarter of the same half features names like an in-form Fernando Verdasco, Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych, who are all equally capable of reaching the semifinals in Madrid. Things however seem to favour the Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who impressed all with his superb runs in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, where he lifted the winner's trophy.
And finally, the CRITICS' favourite target Andy Murray, whose flop show may very well continue with claycourt specialist like David Ferrer and Marin Cilic placed in the same quarter. Murray spent a some good amount of time in Barcelona practicing on claycourts but a disappointing loss in Rome said a different story altogether. However, the best that Murray can do is make attempts to find his form before Roland Garros where he reached the quarterfinals last year.
Overall, the draw brings four names to the forefront - Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco, David Ferrer and Roger Federer. However, Rafael Nadal remains everyone's favourite and determined to create history on home soil.
Follow the nail-biting action happening on the Spanish clay with TennisEarth.com and get the minute-by-minute updates of the 2010 Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open.
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