Madrid Open: Dimitrov duels with Wawrinka and Tsonga battles Berdych

The ATP men’s singles draw takes centre stage at the Madrid Open tennis today with four of the top 12 seeds going at it against one another. Roger Federer and Marin Cilic were high-profile casualties of the second round, and more top racket stars will follow here.

Bulgarian battler Grigor Dimitrov takes on Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka with the two separated by just a couple of places in the ATP world rankings. Their previous head-to-heads are split down the middle, and even past meetings on clay are equal, which makes it all the more intriguing.

Dimitrov has defeated Wawrinka on this surface this season at Monte Carlo, however, and is even-money with Coral to win again. That victory came in straight sets and a repeat result is a 12/5 chance here.

Swiss number two Wawrinka is a narrow odds-on favourite at 8/11, however, to beat the Bulgarian because has has already done so at this event at this stage. It took three sets, the most ATP tour event matches can have, to separate these two back in 2013, and it’s 3/1 for the same outcome two years on.

Sixth seed Tomas Berdych (14/1 fifth-favourite to take the Madrid men’s title), meanwhile, battles another French flier in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after dispatching compatriot Richard Gasquet in round two. This will be their first meeting on clay, but Czech star Berdych holds a handsome 5-2 head-to-head advantage over his opponent.

Because of this, Berdych is a strong odds-on 1/4 favourite for victory, and 8/13 to crush Tsonga in straight sets. Although he made easy work of another Czech Republic player, Lukas Rosol, in round one, the Frenchman needed a third set tie-break to get past plucky American Jack Sock.

Tsonga’s patchy form is reflected in odds of 11/4 for him to upset Berdych. On only one previous occasion has a tie-break been needed to decide a set between these two, and a tasty 10/3 price says the opener will go the distance.