APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Thiem and Bautista make solid starts in qualies

The first day of the Mutua Madrid Open is underway with some spectacular matches to kick off the event. Some of the names playing today in the first rounds of qualifying are enough to give you an idea of the standard of the tournament. Madrid is ready to fire on all cylinders for its 22nd year.

Dominic Thiem, a Grand Slam champion and two-time finalist at the Mutua Madrid Open, an 11-time ATP Tour champion in Roberto Bautista, two major semi-finalists in David Goffin and Diego ‘El Peque’ Schwartzman are just a few of the players who took to the courts of the Caja Mágica today. Besides Bautista, four other Spaniards were wielding their rackets in anger today in the men’s competition: Pedro Martínez Portero, Albert Ramos Viñolas, Bernabé Zapata and Pol Martín.

Austria’s Dominic Thiem began his campaign at the 2024 Mutua Madrid Open with a well-fought win over Felipe Meligeni Alves, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5. The 2017 and 2018 finalist feels at home on the Manolo Santana Centre Court and was able to dig deep to keep himself in the event.

The Austrian came flying out of the blocks and in 45 minutes he had claimed the first set of the tournament with a resounding 6-2. In the second, Thiem’s lack of match time was evident and the Brazilian upped his game. With one break, Meligeni took the match to a decider (6-3), where it was a similar story, with the South American taking a 5-3 lead. Just when it looked like Dominic’s tournament was coming to an end, he found his A-game and won four straight games to take the final set 7-5.

The Austrian is still striving to find some competitive rhythm after a few years of injury complications and where better to do it than in a city like Madrid? Last year, Thiem reached the second round, where he bowed out to Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas. He will be playing for a place in the main draw against the winner of the battle between Thanasi Kokkinakis and Gregoire Barrere.

As for the home players, Roberto Bautista Agut made a solid start in Madrid with a convincing 6-2, 6-1 win over young Kazakh star Amir Omarkhanov. The player from Castellon made sure there was no room for an upset in the Manolo Santana Stadium with a convincing performance in which he dominated his opponent. Rober will now be bidding for his tenth appearance in the main draw in Madrid.

In another of the star clashes of the day, Albert Ramos saw off Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman with a stunning comeback. ‘El Peque’ piled pressure on the Catalonian early in the match with some intimidating forehands, making good on his break of service to take the first set 6-3. His dominance continued into set two, where he broke his opponent’s serve again to take a 5-3 lead. A ticket to round two was within his grasp, but Albert Ramos dug his heels in and refused to budge. The Spaniard managed to save two match points on his serve (5-4, 15-40) and eventually claimed the set with a 7-3 win in the tiebreak. In the decider, Albert took his opportunities and steamrollered the Argentine 6-2, celebrating an unlikely victory with a huge fist pump.

In the second round, with a place in the final draw at stake, there will now be an all-Spanish clash: Roberto Bautista vs Albert Ramos. It is a mouthwatering prospect, and we’re still in the qualifiers. On the other side of the draw, Bernabé Zapata, Pedro Martínez Portero and Pol Tiffon all fell at the tournament’s first hurdle.

The other standout result of the day was that of Brandon Nakashima against Bennani. The American arrived in Madrid feeling confident after defeating Andrei Rublev last week in Barcelona. Nakashima lost one set en route to a 6-1, 6-7, 6-1 victory. In the next round, he will face Argentinian player Ugo Carabelli who beat Bernabé Zapata in two sets.