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Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreño Busta Odds & Prediction – Barcelona Open Semifinals

Stephanie Myles

by Stephanie Myles in Tennis

Apr 23, 2021 · 2:37 PM PDT

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after defeating Cameron Norrie of Britain 6-1, 6-4 during a quarterfinal Godo tennis tournament in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, April 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
  • Rafael Nadal is undefeated against his Barcelona semifinal opponent, No. 6 seed Pablo Carreño Busta
  • Their eighth career meeting will take place Saturday at 10:00 am EDT
  • Can Carreño Busta find something he’s never been able to find before versus Nadal? We break it down

Rafael Nadal always had the friendliest half of the draw in Barcelona this week.

But with a 7-0 career head-to-head record against countryman and semifinal opponent Pablo Carreño Busta, he’s feeling particularly chummy.

Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreño Busta Odds

Player Spread Moneyline Total at DraftKings
[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) -5.5 (+102) -590 O 19.5 (-113)
[6] Pablo Carreño Busta (ESP) +5.5 (-129) +425 U 19.5 (+113)

Odds as of April 23

Nadal’s favorable odds in this one aren’t in the stratosphere, as they were for previous opponent Cameron Norrie.

But they are still pretty overwhelming, as you would expect.

He has been the prohibitive favorite from the get-go, and has enjoyed an easier draw than his young-gun counterparts in the bottom half.

Nadal Gets Extra Practice Time

After a pair of three-set victories, Nadal had a relatively routine win over surprise quarterfinalist Cameron Norrie Friday.

Clearly that wasn’t enough for him on the day.

But that’s the way Nadal rolls. If he’s not feeling it, he practices even more and – nearly always – plays his way into form.

PCB Pulls off a Major Comeback

Meanwhile on Friday, Carreño Busta was down 2-5 in the third set to Diego Schwartzman, who was seeded two spots above him at No. 4.

Schwartzman served for it at 5-3 and was two points away several times. But Carreño Busta broke him. And that seemed to break the usually-positive Argentine’s spirit.

Schwartzman has been struggling this year as he adjusts to a new racquet, after playing with a 2012 model for many years. And when it came to crunch time, he just didn’t trust his new sword.

Carreño Busta broke him again to lead 6-5. And then served it out at love for the privilege (if that’s the right word) to try to break the shutout against his legendary countryman.

Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreño Busta Head-to-Head

Rafael Nadal
Pablo Carreño Busta

34 (June 3, 1986) Age 29 (July 12, 1991)
Manacor, Mallorca Birthplace Gijon, Spain
6-1 Height 6-2
86 Career ATP Singles Titles 5
No. 1 (Aug. 18, 2008) Career High Ranking No. 10 (Sept. 11, 2017)
No. 3 Current Ranking  No. 13
$123,898,908 Career Prize Money $11,234,022
9-2 2021 Won/Loss record 13-4
7 Career Head-to-Head 0

The Bad News? Nadal Comes in 7-0

It’s not just that Carreño Busta, who is arguably more dangerous on hard courts but very good on the clay, is 0-7 against Nadal.

He has only ever won two sets against him. And he’s never even sniffed a set on the clay.

Is there slight hope this time?

Well, Carreño Busta came into Barcelona having won his fifth career title, on the clay in Marbella two weeks ago.

He’s arguably in better (relative) form than Nadal at the moment even if the best opponent he faced in Marbella was No. 47 Albert Ramos-Viñolas.

And even that went to a third-set tiebreak.

That’s slightly thin soup. There isn’t a lot to pin those hopes on when it comes to this matchup.

Rafael Nadal vs Pablo Carreño Busta Match History

Year Tournament Surface Score Winner
2020 Paris Masters (QF) Indoor Hard 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 Nadal
2020 Rome (R32) Clay 6-1, 6-1 Nadal
2020 Australian Open (R32) Outdoor Hard 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 Nadal
2017 French Open (QF) Clay 6-2, 2-0 (retd) Nadal
2016 Rio de Janeiro (R32) Clay 6-1, 6-4 Nadal
2016 Doha (R32) Outdoor Hard 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1 Nadal
2015 Rio de Janeiro (R16) Clay 7-5, 6-3 Nadal

Flatter Striker Suffers Nadal’s Spin

The biggest challenge Carreño Busta faces is that he’s a flatter hitter of the ball, especially on the backhand.

And with all the work Nadal puts on the ball, it rarely arrives anywhere near Carreño Busta’s preferred hitting zone – especially coming from the Nadal forehand, which in crosscourt rallies goes right to Carreño Busta’s backhand.

So nothing Carreño Busta receives is ever something he can instinctively attack. He’s always scrambling. And it’s not ideal to hit his forehand down the line to try to break up a point, because that goes right to Nadal’s forehand.

Even in early-season clay form Nadal has a good chance, at -5.5, to beat the spread (+102).

Under 18.5 total games (+135) is also within reach.

Best Bet: Nadal in two sets (-186) 

While you’re betting the Barcelona Open, be sure to read our guide to Derby betting ahead of next week’s big race!

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