Rafael Nadal will begin the quest for his sixth title at the Madrid Masters facing a teenager half his age in a Wednesday clash of the Spanish tennis generations.
The icon who turns 36 next month will face off against Carlos Alcaraz – 18 on match day – in the second round in a dream contest for the limited 1,500 fans allowed through the gates of the Caja Magica.
The youngster who has rocketed 190 ranking spots since last August to his current 120th with a bullet, moved into the match with the master through his 6-4, 6-0 Monday defeat of Adrian Mannarino, a victory featuring 19 winners.
Alcaraz is playing only his second Masters 1000 tournament after Miami in March and has now scored his first win at this level.
He announced his presence on the Tour with an April semi-final at the new home event in Marbella.
Nadal comes to Madrid after winning the Barcelona Open; Alcaraz is the youngest player to ever win a Madrid match, beating out Nadal, who waited until age 18 to clock his first in the capital.