Spain’s Rafael Nadal gestures during a match against Japan’s Kei Nishikori during the Godo tennis tournament in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, April 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
- Rafael Nadal is the overwhelming favorite in Barcelona versus Cameron Norrie on Friday, at 10:00 am EDT
- The outright tournament favorite has needed three sets to get through his first two matches
- Does Norrie have a chance of at least beating the spread? We break it down below
Rafael Nadal is almost without exception the huge favorite whenever he plays on his beloved red clay. But -2500 against a top-60 player? That’s legendary. That’s the current odds in the Nadal vs Norrie in this Barcelona Open Quarterfinal match on Friday.
Rafael Nadal vs Cameron Norrie Odds
|Player||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
| Rafael Nadal (ESP)||-6.5 (-121)||-2500||O 17.5 (-132)|
|Cameron Norrie (GBR)||+6.5 (-105)||+1300||U 17.5 (+105)|
Odds as of April 22
Three-Setters in First Two Matches for Nadal
Nadal – who also is the big favorite to win the Barcelona Open outright – was rusty and underperformed a little in Monte-Carlo last week.
He hoped coming home would be the secret salve.
“I hope that this support in front of my people helps me to improve,” the Mallorcan said upon arrival in Barcelona, where he has won the tournament 11 times.
But Nadal needed three sets to get past qualifier Ilya Ivashka in his opening match.
Back on track 🔥
11-time 🏆 @RafaelNadal finishes off Ivashka to kick off his #bcnopenbs campaign.
Nadal was coming off a shock Monte Carlo defeat:https://t.co/SF128XqM59
— TENNIS (@Tennis) April 21, 2021
And then, the 34-year-old also needed to go the distance against two-time former champion Kei Nishikori Thursday in the third round.
And that was after Nadal dropped a tennis bagel on the Japanese star in the first set.
(Fun fact: Nadal has never in his career in three-set matches defeated an opponent 6-0, 6-0).
Nishikori Mounts Strong Resistance in Defeat
With Ivashka, Nadal had to get past his inevitable opening-match jitters, as he also faced a 27-year-old opponent he’d never seen before.
But against Nishikori on the Spanish clay, despite Nadal’s dominant 11-2 head-to-head record, there was some history.
Nadal defeated Nishikori, who had won the tournament the previous two years, in the 2016 Barcelona final.
But in the 2014 Madrid final, Nishikori was having his way with the clay immortal. He was up a set and a break, before finally having to retire down 0-3 in the third set with leg and hip issues.
On Thursday, both of them five years older and Nishikori far from peak 2016 form, Nadal eventually prevailed 6-0, 2-6, 6-2.
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Norrie a Relative Unknown to Nadal
Norrie, 25, has been on the ATP Tour for a few years now after a standout NCAA career at Texas Christian University.
But he and Nadal had never played until the third round of this year’s Australian Open.
“I think he obviously has not really got many weaknesses, so I’m just going to have to do what I do as well as I can and implement my game and try to play the points on my terms,” Norrie said before that match. “Otherwise if he’s the one dictating, it’s gonna be tough and I’m gonna be running around a lot.”
Norrie, a fellow lefty, acquitted himself quite well on the day.
But this one, on the red clay in Spain, is very much more on Nadal’s terms.
Rafael Nadal vs Cameron Norrie Previous Match
|2021||Australian Open (R32)||7-5, 6-2, 7-5||Nadal|
Nadal Against Fellow Lefties
Some lefties have trouble against fellow southpaws, mostly because they don’t face them that often.
Nadal’s winning percentage against lefties (86-percent) is even higher than it is against righties (76-percent). He is better against southpaws in nearly every statistical category.
Nadal last loss to a lefty on clay was when Horacio Zeballos (now a doubles specialist) shocked him the final of a tournament in Chile in 2013.
That said, he’s only faced three over the last year, including the match against Norrie in Melbourne.
Rafael Nadal vs Cameron Norrie Head-to-Head
|34 (June 3, 1986)||Age||25 (Aug. 23, 1995)|
|Manacor, Mallorca||Birthplace||Johannesburg, South Africa|
|86||Career ATP Singles Titles||0|
|No. 1 (Aug. 18, 2008)||Career High Ranking||No. 41 (May 20, 2019)|
|No. 3||Current Ranking||No. 58|
|$123,898,908||Career Prize Money||$1,614,768|
|8-2||2021 Won/Loss record||14-7|
Norrie’s Run Should End Friday
Norrie upset No. 12 seed Karen Khachanov this week.
And he benefited from the retirement of No. 11 seed David Goffin Friday, when the Belgian was down 0-6, 5-3.
Wishing you a speedy recovery, @David__Goffin 🙏
Goffin’s retirement sends @cam_norrie through to the quarter-finals at the #BNCOpenBS, where he’ll face Nadal or Nishikori pic.twitter.com/DyzKtFnVzy
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) April 22, 2021
The odds against the Brit are so outsized it’s almost worth taking a small chance – just in case.
Lightning could strike. Nadal might get a blister. Or hell might even freeze over.
But in the end, the +6.5 spread (-105) means a 6-3, 6-3 Nadal victory would still allow Norrie to cover. That, at least, seems within the realm of possibility.
Best Bet: Nadal in two sets (-480)
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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Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.