Stefanos Tsitsipas took it upon himself to close out the ninth day of competition at the Mutua Madrid Open by stamping his ticket to the last sixteen. The Greek opened in the Caja Mágica with a two-set win over Lucas Pouille (6-3, 6-4) in one hour and seven minutes of tennis in the Manolo Santana Stadium.
The fourth seed at the Masters 1000 in the Spanish capital entered the stadium under the lights of the night session and quickly managed to stifle the Frenchman, who was playing on a wildcard from the organisers. The 2019 runner-up on the clay of Madrid is looking to continue a solid European clay swing after claiming the title in Monte Carlo and reaching the quarters in Barcelona.
Tsitsipas dominated an exchange that included three straight breaks of serve. The Athens native took the lead in the fourth game (3-1), Pouille returned the favour in the fifth (3-2) only for the Greek to break back in the next (4-2). The one break lead was enough to seal a set that lasted half an hour.
Job done! ???
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 4, 2022
An early break in the second was enough for the ATP No. 5 to see the match through until the end, practically untroubled by the French player. With an ace, his seventh of the night, Tsitsipas completed his eighth win of the season on clay having only lost his serve once.
On Thursday, last year’s French Open finalist will be bidding for a place in the quarters against Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian booked his place in the round of sixteen with a victory over American player Maxime Cressy (6-2, 7-6) and then Argentine Diego Schwartzman (6-0, 6-3), without dropping a set on the way.
The ‘Caja Mágica effect’
After his victorious #MMOPEN bow, Tsitsipas spoke of the lift he feels at the event in the Spanish capital. “I’m really happy to be back in Madrid. It was a great start, which is common thanks to the energy of the Caja Mágica”, he said.
The Greek was cagey about his chances of winning the event, despite being one of the favourites. “There is still a long way to go for the title. But I hope that when I leave here, I can do so with great memories”, he acknowledged with a smile.