APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

One step closer

A few days ago Stefanos Tsitsipas presented his candidacy for the 2023 Mutua Madrid Open. The Greek was in fine fettle when he arrived in Madrid, and his ranking would always suggest he is in with a shout. However, theory and predictions are often far from the harsh reality of competition. Today when he beat Sebastián Baez 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, he proved, once again, that he is capable of going all the way.

Two days ago, he played his opener in the second round against Dominic Thiem, a Grand Slam champion, no less. His third-round clash would be no less challenging. Sebas Baez is in the Caja Mágica for the first time, but he is playing with the freedom of a man who has experience in the later rounds in the Spanish capital. The Argentine, a specialist on clay, picked up his two most recent ATP titles on the surface, the last of them just a few weeks ago in his home country. Baez wanted another opportunity, but Tsitsipas prevented the Argentine from putting a smile on the faces of his compatriots who turned out to see him in the Manolo Santana Stadium.

It was a hugely testing, three-set match. Baez was on the verge of his second win over a top-10 player and his first round of sixteen in the Caja Mágica. The Greek, though, had other ideas. He was able to come good on his ranking and keep his dream of glory in Madrid alive, having come so close to the title here in 2018, when he fell to Novak Djokovic in the final.

Stefanos Tsitsipas will now take on home hero Bernabé Zapata in the last sixteen. Can the Greek end the Spaniard’s dream run in Madrid?