Jan Lennard Struff vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Time: 11:30 PM IST
In the round of 16 at the Madrid Masters, Stefanos Tsitsipas had a straightforward victory over Bernabe Zapata Miralles, winning with a score of 6-3 6-1. This was in stark contrast to his earlier matches, which posed more significant challenges. For instance, he had to come back from a set down against former world #3 Dominic Thiem in the second round and played a deciding set against the current ATP Cordoba champion Sebastian Baez in the third round.
Tsitsipas has a favorable path to the finals, with two matches against Jan Lennard Struff and either Zhizhen Zhang or Aslan Karatsev in his way. If he wins these matches, he will return to the #3 spot in the ATP rankings. However, this might not be ideal for French Open contenders as Rafael Nadal, a 14-time champion, is expected to be seeded between #15 and 18. This implies that potential contenders may have to face Nadal relatively early in the tournament, which could be a daunting obstacle to overcome.
Tsitsipas’s previous quarter final matches in ATP events this year took place on clay and had similar scorelines. He lost 2-6 4-6 against Taylor Fritz during his title-defense campaign at Monte Carlo Masters, and he won 6-4 6-2 against Alex de Minaur on his way to the finals in Barcelona.
The world #5 has an impressive record in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters, having defeated Alexander Zverev in three sets during his run to the finals in 2019 and beating Andrey Rublev in three sets last year on his way to the semifinals. Clay seems to bring out the best in the 24-year-old, as evidenced by his triumphs in the 2021 and 2022 Monte Carlo Masters tournaments on clay and his impressive performance at the 2021 French Open, where he came close to winning his maiden Grand Slam title. Since the start of the 2019 season, he has a remarkable record of 29 wins and only two losses against opponents ranked outside the top-50 on clay, with one of those losses coming to Jan Lennard Struff in the round of 16 in Barcelona 2019.
Jan Lennard Struff has made it to the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters by capitalizing on the lucky-loser opportunity, emulating his fellow German Daniel Altmaier. This is a historic moment, marking the first time in the Open era that two lucky losers have made it to this stage of a Masters event.
Struff has not faced any top-30 players in this tournament so far, but his outstanding performance cannot be overlooked. In the previous Masters event in Monte Carlo, he defeated a couple of top-30 players, Alex de Minaur and Casper Ruud, before putting up a commendable fight against the eventual champion, Andrey Rublev, in the quarterfinals.
Throughout his career, Struff has failed to progress beyond the quarterfinals of Masters events, having lost both matches to top-10 players. On the main tour, he has a record of 9 wins and 19 losses, but none of those nine victories were against top-10 players. On Thursday, he will be competing for one of the most significant achievements of his career, as he has never progressed beyond the quarterfinals in any tournaments beyond the ATP 250 level.
Given that Struff has won at least a set in each of his last four encounters with Tsitsipas, we shall back him to do the same in this match up.
Prediction: Back Struff to win a set