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QF Preview: Will Khachanov Halt Alcaraz's Madrid Streak?

  • Posted: May 02, 2023

QF Preview: Will Khachanov Halt Alcaraz’s Madrid Streak?

Coric to face Altmaier

Can anyone stop Carlos Alcaraz from successfully defending his Mutua Madrid Open crown?

Karen Khachanov will take his shot at eliminating the Spanish star on Tuesday at the Caja Magica. The 10th seed is fresh off a Top 10 win over Andrey Rublev in the fourth round.

Even with Alcaraz in the top half of the draw, there is opportunity for the other quarter-finalists in the half. Seventeenth seed Borna Coric and lucky loser Daniel Altmaier will meet for the first time for a spot in the last four. previews the first two Madrid quarter-finals.

[1] Carlos Alcaraz vs. [10] Karen Khachanov

Alcaraz produced a ruthless performance on Tuesday to dismiss former World No. 2 and defending Madrid finalist Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-2. It was an even more lopsided victory than the one the Spaniard earned in last year’s 6-3, 6-1 final at the Caja Magica.

The Alcaraz train is rolling down hill. Will Khachanov be able to stop it in its tracks?

History is not on the 26-year-old’s side. Alcaraz has won both of the pair’s previous ATP Head2Head meetings, which came last year at Roland Garros and Hamburg. In the five sets they played, Khachanov won just 11 games.

But the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion has consistently raised his level on the world’s biggest stages. He earned ATP Masters 1000 glory in Bercy and more recently advanced to the semi-finals at the US Open last year and the Australian Open and the Miami Open presented by Itau this year.

Entering the week, Khachanov owned a 1-5 record in Madrid. Now the 10th seed is into the quarter-finals after eliminating fifth seed and doubles partner Andrey Rublev.

“In Madrid it’s always a little bit [of a] different feeling. The altitude [has an impact] and the balls are flying much more,” Khachanov said in his on-court interview after defeating Rublev. “I think the years before I was trying to play the same way as I was playing the other years. But I think this year I changed a little bit the tactics and the strategy and I think it’s paying off. Hopefully I can continue that way.”

Khachanov will need to change something against Alcaraz, the defending champion who is now 26-2 on the season. In the 19-year-old’s past 15 victories, he has lost a set just once.

“I will try to play this level. I will try my best level. I have to show that in the quarter-finals,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “But obviously playing this match gives me a lot of confidence into the quarter-finals, so let’s see what happens.”

One thing to watch is how well Khachanov is able to control play during his service games. In the pair’s first two clashes, he managed to win less than 52 per cent of his service points. That number was 74 per cent against Rublev on Tuesday.

Alcaraz is trying to become the first player this season to claim two Masters 1000 crowns. If he manages the feat, the Spaniard will reclaim No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings from Novak Djokovic after Rome if he plays a match at the Foro Italico.

[17] Borna Coric vs. [LL] Daniel Altmaier

Six years ago Borna Coric lost in the final round of qualifying in Madrid to Mikhail Kukushkin. However, then 19, the Croatian was slotted into the main draw as a lucky loser. Coric went on to upset then-World No. 1 Andy Murray and reach his first clay-court Masters 1000 quarter-final.

It is fitting that in his second Madrid quarter-final, Coric will face a lucky loser when he battles German Daniel Altmaier. It will be the pair’s first ATP Head2Head clash.

Coric needed three hours and 28 minutes to defeat home favourite Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(5) for a place in the last eight. The longest best-of-three match of the season lasted three hours and 31 minutes between Hubert Hurkacz and Thanasi Kokkinakis in Miami.

“I just need to recover first. That’s going to be my focus today and then obviously for tomorrow I need to go out there and I need to play even better than today,” Coric said. “I need to serve better. I think my serve was not doing I would say a lot of damage today. But first I need to recover and then I’m going to focus for tomorrow.”

One advantage he will have over Altmaier is experience. Coric won his first Masters 1000 title last year in Cincinnati. This is Altmaier’s first trip this far into a Masters 1000 tournament.

But Altmaier, who has a one-handed backhand, will be confident having not lost a set in the main draw. The 24-year-old is up to No. 61 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

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Zhang Saves 3 MPs, Stuns Fritz In Historic Madrid Win

  • Posted: May 02, 2023

Zhang Saves 3 MPs, Stuns Fritz In Historic Madrid Win

Karatsev is next for the Chinese star

Zhang Zhizhen made history on Tuesday at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he became the first Chinese player to reach an ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final.

The 26-year-old accomplished the feat in style, saving three match points to rally past eighth seed Taylor Fritz 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8). It marked his first Top 10 win on his third attempt.

“I didn’t think about this. Didn’t really think about [his] ranking, because you just need to give the best you can,” Zhang said in his on-court interview. “Before the match, you know it’s a very tough player. There is no weakness, so [I] just tried what I can do. Then [after] losing the first set, [I was] thinking about trying to play a little bit closer match. In the end [that] I can win, that’s amazing.”

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It has been a breakthrough week for the Chinese star, who upset World No. 13 Cameron Norrie in the third round. At the time, not only did that make him the first player from his country to reach the fourth round of an ATP Masters 1000 event, but it had been the biggest win of his career by Pepperstone ATP Ranking.

Zhang wasted no time adding to his resumé. He will next face former World No. 14 Aslan Karatsev for a spot in the semi-finals.

“I’ll tell you a secret. We had a practice, I lost 6-0 with Karatsev,” Zhang said. “I’ll do my best. Here everyone is a great player, huge player. They all have some very good results. [I will] try to do the best what I can do.”

The 26-year-old is up to No. 66 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, the best ranking of his career. If he defeats Karatsev, he is projected to crack the Top 50 and become the highest-ranked Chinese man in history, passing close friend Wu Yibing, who ascended to World No. 55 earlier this year.

Fritz will rue plenty of missed opportunities. The American led by a set and a break. Even when Zhang rallied, Fritz led 3/0 in the second-set tie-break and 6/4 in the third-set tie-break.

The eighth seed prides himself on his performance under pressure, but he was unable to land the final blow. Zhang played with courage, bludgeoning a forehand at 4/6 and then showing deft touch to erase another match point at 5/6.

Fritz earned his best opportunity at 8/7, when he overcooked a forehand from the middle of the court. Zhang, who entered the tournament with a 4-9 record in tour-level deciding sets, has now won three consecutive final-set tie-breaks.

“After so many losses you feel calm,” Zhang said, cracking a smile. “You don’t feel too much after you lose so many matches.”

Did You Know?
This was the 11th final-set tie-break in the tournament, which is an ATP Masters 1000 record. The old mark was 10 final-set tie-breaks at the BNP Paribas Open in 2014 and 2018.

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Kokkinakis, Bublik Advance At Challenger 175s

  • Posted: May 02, 2023

Kokkinakis, Bublik Advance At Challenger 175s

Goffin downs Paire in France

This week’s jam-packed ATP Challenger Tour 175 events began main-draw action Tuesday, with stars such as Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alexander Bublik among those who made a winning start.

The Australian Kokkinakis defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round after winning 17 of 21 points off his first serve and converting seven of 11 break points at the Sardegna Open in Cagliari, Italy.

Kokkinakis will next meet Alessandro Giannessi or Francesco Passaro at the clay-court event, where Yoshihito Nishioka and Ben Shelton are the top two seeds.

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It was a day for Italian Mattia Bellucci to remember, as he earned his first Top-100 win by upsetting fifth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. The 21-year-old will next face his countryman Giulio Zeppieri, who survived wild card Andrea Vavassori 7-6(0), 4-6, 6-4.

In other Cagliari action, Japan’s Taro Daniel downed American Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-1, 4-6, 6-1. Daniel, World No. 109, will meet third seed Mackenize McDonald on Thursday.

Sixth seed Alexander Bublik enjoyed a strong start at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole, where he edged Riccardo Bonadio 7-6(5), 7-5. The Kazakh will meet three-time Challenger champion Otto Virtanen in the second round after the Finn earned a hard-fought 7-6(4), 7-6(7) win against Frenchman Alexandre Muller.

David Goffin ousted home favourite Benoit Paire 7-6(0), 6-1. The Belgian fended off three set points at 4-5 in the opening set before rallying to down Paire after one hour, 25 minutes. Goffin will clash against fourth seed Mikael Ymer on Thursday.

<a href=''>David Goffin</a> in action at the ATP Challenger 175 event in Aix-en-Provence, France.
David Goffin in action at the ATP Challenger 175 event in Aix-en-Provence, France. Credit: Jared Wickerham/ATP Tour

The 18-year-old Luca Van Assche, who is World No. 86, overcame Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-1 to set up a meeting against countryman and third seed Adrian Mannarino. Van Assche is the youngest player in the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and a three-time Challenger champion.

A star-studded Wednesday in southern France will include a showdown between three-time major champion Andy Murray and former World No. 6 Gael Monfils. Also among the Aix-en-Provence field is Tommy Paul, Alexander Bublik, and 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima.

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Alcaraz Marches Past Zverev In Madrid

  • Posted: May 02, 2023

Alcaraz Marches Past Zverev In Madrid

Top seed prevails in rematch of 2022 final, faces Khachanov next

A year on from their 2022 final clash, Carlos Alcaraz conjured a repeat result and a similarly scintillating performance against Alexander Zverev to charge into the quarter-finals at this year’s Mutua Madrid Open.

Alcaraz was dominant from the outset in Tuesday’s clash, barely putting a foot wrong in his 6-1, 6-2 triumph against the two-time champion Zverev on Manolo Santana Stadium. He dropped just eight points behind serve and was a constant menace on return as he broke the German’s serve four times in an emphatic 83-minute triumph

“For me it’s amazing to play the level that I played today,” said Alcaraz. “It’s been a question mark for me… I played well, I feel really good right now and this match gives me a lot of confidence.

“At the beginning [I felt nerves], but you have to handle [them]. The best players in the world handle the nerves really [well] and I want to be like them. Trying not to show the opponent that I’m nervous at all. I just want to enjoy playing here in the Caja Magica in front of my home crowd. It’s been amazing for me to play here, so I just enjoy every moment.”

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Stepping on court seeking his 18th straight ATP Tour victory on Spanish soil, Alcaraz immediately set about demonstrating his best level to the vocal home fans. He struck the ball with power and accuracy from the first game to heap pressure on Zverev and broke the German’s serve in the second and sixth games en route to the opening set.

Zverev, who prevailed in the pair’s most recent previous ATP Head2Head meeting at Roland Garros last year, was unable to raise his level to match the 19-year-old Spaniard. Alcaraz reeled off five games in a row from 1-2 in the second set as his lightning-fast movement around the court enabled him to redirect his opponent’s heavy groundstrokes with ease.

The Spaniard finished the match with 21 winners to Zverev’s nine, and his triumph improved his ATP Head2Head record against the German to 2-3. Alcaraz will take on Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals in the Spanish capital after the 10th seed downed Monte-Carlo champion Andrey Rublev 7-6(8), 6-4 earlier on Tuesday

Now 26-2 for the season, Alcaraz has extra motivation as he pursues his fourth tour-level title of the year in Madrid. If he successfully defends his trophy in the Spanish capital, he will be guaranteed to usurp Novak Djokovic and return to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings simply by playing a match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome later this month.

“I will try to play this level,” said Alcaraz when asked about his quarter-final against Khachanov. “I will say this is my best level. I have to show that in the quarter-final, but obviously playing this match gives me a lot of confidence… Let’s see what happens.”

Also in action Tuesday, Borna Coric escaped Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(5) to advance to the Madrid quarter-finals for the first time since 2017.

Locked in the third-set tie-break, Coric earned a mini break at 5/5 with a dead let cord that left the Spaniard no chance of retrieving the ball. The World No. 20 Coric closed out the three-hour, 28-minute victory on the next point.

The Croatian will next meet German Daniel Altmaier, who defeated home hope Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-0 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final. The 24-year-old Altmaier, who was slotted into the main draw as a lucky loser, won 12 of 15 points off his second delivery and saved all four break points faced to advance.

Altmaier is the first lucky loser in the Madrid quarter-finals since Coric’s run to the last eight in 2017.

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Awesome Karatsev Downs Medvedev In Madrid

  • Posted: May 02, 2023

Awesome Karatsev Downs Medvedev In Madrid

29-year-old notches first Top 10 win since 2021 in Rome

Aslan Karatsev reaffirmed his return to top form with a stunning upset of second seed Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

The former World No. 14 and three-time tour-level titlist delivered a remarkable barrage of baseline hitting en route to a 7-6(1), 6-4 triumph against the in-form Medvedev on Arantxa Sanchez Stadium. Karatsev’s power and the consistent depth of his groundstrokes proved too much even for Medvedev, one of the best defenders on Tour, to handle.

“I’m feeling great, playing well,” said Karatsev, who now holds a 6-7 record against Top 10 opponents. “I just have to focus every match, so I will be prepared for the next one… [Against top players] you just concentrate more, you have to be 100 per cent, you have to focus more because they do not give you any free points.

“You have to be consistent and mentally tough, so I think I’m doing well.”

Karatsev charged to the first-set tie-break with four clean winners in eight points and claimed a decisive break in the fifth game of the second set to seal a 93-minute victory. The World No. 121, who came through qualifying to reach the main draw in Madrid, will next face Taylor Fritz or Zhang Zhizhen at the Caja Magica.

Karatsev dropped as low as No. 129 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on 17 April after a modest past 12 months, but the 29-year-old has now defeated seeded players Botic van de Zandschulp, Alex de Minaur and Medvedev in consecutive rounds in Madrid. Now up to No. 89 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings as a result of his exploits in Spain, he is feeling confident as he prepares for his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title.

“I was struggling last year,” said Karatsev after improving his ATP Head2Head record against Medvedev to 2-1. “I’m really happy with my game [now], so well see what [happens next].”

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Khachanov Edges Rublev To Seal Quarter-final Berth In Madrid

  • Posted: May 02, 2023

Khachanov Edges Rublev To Seal Quarter-final Berth In Madrid

World No. 12 claims first Top 10 win on clay since 2019

Good friends and doubles partners, but there could only be one winner Tuesday on the singles court.

It was Karen Khachanov who kept his cool to down Andrey Rublev 7-6(8), 6-4 in the pair’s fourth-round clash at the Mutua Madrid Open. The 10th-seeded Khachanov took control of a closely fought encounter by rallying from 4/6 to claim the first-set tie-break and he carried that momentum to a one-hour, 42-minute victory on Manolo Santana Stadium.

“It’s always tricky to play against each other because on one side we know each other’s games perfectly because we’ve been training together for so many years,” said Khachanov. “At the same time we know what to expect, but also of course a bit nervous to play against each other. We are good friends, but on the court we are rivals.

“It was all a matter of keeping the serve, and if you have any chances on the return, go for it. That’s what I did.”

Khachanov saved the only break point he faced and won 80 per cent (35/44) of points behind first serves to take a 3-2 lead in his ATP Head2Head series with Rublev. The pair also met in Monte-Carlo three weeks ago, when Rublev prevailed en route to lifting his maiden Masters 1000 crown.

“Both of us served really well and we didn’t have any chance on return in the first set,” said Khachanov of the pair’s Madrid clash. “The tie-break was really crucial I would say, pretty similar to how it was in Monte-Carlo. He took the first set in a tie-break [there] and started to believe more in the second set.”

With his Madrid win, Khachanov moved to 19-0 in matches when he has won the first set in 2023. The 26-year-old, who has risen one spot to No. 11 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings as a result of his Madrid run, will take on defending champion Carlos Alcaraz or 13th seed Alexander Zverev next at the clay-court ATP Masters 1000 as he attempts to reach his third tour-level semi-final of the year.

Despite his Madrid campaign coming to an end, the World No. 6 Rublev is still in the hunt for a trophy at the Caja Magica. He and Khachanov are set to take on Jamie Murray and Michael Venus in the quarter-finals of the doubles.

“At the end of the day, this match is over,” said Khachanov when asked about returning to court alongside Rublev. “We need to have some time maybe to absorb it. That’s how it was in Monte-Carlo. The day before we played doubles, we lost a very tight match, and then the next day he beat me. After one day, life goes on. He’s doing well this year, I’m doing well, I’m just happy.”

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Pedro Cachin And The Old Custom Of Reinventing Oneself In Spain

  • Posted: May 02, 2023

Pedro Cachin And The Old Custom Of Reinventing Oneself In Spain

Argentine is into fourth round in Madrid

Editor’s note: This story was translated from

Pedro Cachin is as Argentinian as they come: kind, respectful, friendly, genuine. The values he absorbed in his native Bell Ville have been evident throughout his ATP Tour career. However, it is in Spain, more than 10,000 kilometres from home, that the 28-year-old Argentine has taken the biggest steps in his tennis career.

On Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open, he beat Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 7-6(2) to reach the Round of 16 of a Masters 1000 for the first time in his life.

“I’ve always liked Madrid, the conditions here really suit me,” explains the No. 67 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, who is still yet to relinquish a set in the tournament. “I’m really happy. Everything is going better than I expected. This will help me believe I belong here, to feel that I’ve earned the right to be at this kind of tournament.”

Until very recently, he was not so sure of himself. At the end of March, his 2023 tour-level record was 2-10 and doubt plagued his mind. Perhaps the responsibility that comes with playing your first full year on the ATP Tour was something of a burden. Pedro decided to return to the ATP Challenger Tour to regroup and search for some much-needed confidence. He found it at an event in Spain.

“Luckily I did really well at the Challenger in Madrid. I was convinced that I was going to take a step forward and win matches,” continued Cachín, who arrived at the 2023 Mutua Madrid Open with a 1-2 record at Masters 1000s. Now he is 4-2. “I hope the result is a turning point in my season,” he added. “I have faith in the process.”

Cachin’s love affair with Spain began sometime in 2014. Back then, he decided to move to Barcelona and work under the watchful eye of Alex Corretja, the World No. 2 in 1999.

“He changed my life, on and off the court. He’s like a father to me,” the Cordoba native said on Monday. Corretja was Cachin’s head coach for four years. Since then he has continued to advise him from afar.

“I went to live in Barcelona nine years ago,” Cachin explains. “An opportunity came up to work with Alex Corretja. He understands certain moments in tennis like nobody else. As a player he didn’t have great shots, but he did have a great head and an understanding of the game that were far superior. He finds the solution in so many situations.”

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The bond between them, so important in Cachin’s career, was a product of his desire to reinvent himself. He could have taken the easy road and stayed close to his family. As a teenager he wanted to explore a new world, even though this would often mean loneliness, nostalgia and a longing to go home.

“I committed myself to leaving and investing in my career. The best option was to come to Europe, and I’m still here,” he remembers.

Cachin may have left his native Argentina many years ago, but his country has never left him. Proof of this lies in his love of Boca Juniors and the Argentine football team, his habit of carrying mate with him wherever he goes, and his frequent enjoyment of Argentinian barbecue or asado. His last such meal was at his home in Sant Cugat del Valles before the ATP 500 in Barcelona. Several of his countrymen from the ATP Tour were there, including Diego Schwartzman and Francisco Cerundolo. There was no shortage of Fernet either.

However, as Argentinian as he may be, the Caja Magica still has plenty of reason to support him this week. Cachin is practically a Spaniard at this point, and he hopes to bond further with the Madrid crowd when he meets Jan-Lennard Struff for a place in the quarter-finals.

“Struff has shown the player he is, but I am feeling really good going forward,” he said, looking ahead to Tuesday’s match. “I hope to enjoy it to the max.”

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Preview: Alcaraz Meets Zverev In Madrid Final Rematch

  • Posted: May 02, 2023

Preview: Alcaraz Meets Zverev In Madrid Final Rematch

Remaining 16 singles players all in action on busy Tuesday

The entirety of the remaining men’s singles field will play on Tuesday at the Mutua Madrid Open, with the fourth round set to be completed over the course of a packed day at the ATP Masters 1000.

The pick of the eight matchups is a rematch of last year’s Madrid final between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev, with Top 10 seeds Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov also squaring off in the draw’s top half. Daniil Medvedev’s meeting with Aslan Karatsev is another highlight, while three Spaniards in addition to Alcaraz hope to advance to the quarter-finals, led by 29th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. looks at some of the key fourth-round matchups on the Day 9 schedule across the men’s singles draw and men’s doubles draw.

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[1] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. [13] Alexander Zverev (GER)

Alcaraz dominated the 2022 Madrid final against the Zverev, capping an emphatic three-match stretch in which he defeated Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and the German. That victory clinched a trophy double for the Spaniard across Barcelona and Madrid, and the 19-year-old is now four wins away from repeating that feat this season. If he does claim the title, Alcaraz would be guaranteed to return to No. 1 the week after Rome simply by playing a match in the Italian capital.

A successful Madrid title defence would extend Alcaraz’s winning streak on home soil to 21 matches, but for the moment he is fully focussed on Zverev, who leads their ATP Head2Head 3-1 and owns two Madrid titles of his own (2018, 2021).

“I really want to play that match. We played a few times, head-to-head he is up,” Alcaraz said after beating Girgor Dimitrov to set the showdown encounter. “I really want to show my great level here in front of my home crowd. I have great memories from last year in the final but obviously I have to be really focussed in that match. I know that Sascha is a really good player, a really aggressive one with good serves. I have to show all my skills.”

While Zverev was not at his very best against Alcaraz in last year’s Madrid final, having played deep into the night each of the previous two days, he enters Tuesday’s matchup with plenty of rest. The 13th seed cruised past Hugo Grenier 6-1, 6-0 on Sunday, continuing the fine form he showed in closing out Roberto Carballes Baena in a 6-0 final set in his opening match.

“Today I felt great,” he said after beating Grenier in just 55 minutes. Zverev’s sky-high Shot Quality on both serve and return underlined his stellar performance against the Frenchman, and he will need a similar showing to stop Alcaraz in front of his home crowd.

Beating Alcaraz in Spain is a challenge no player has been able to meet in the past two years on the ATP Tour. But Zverev has been able to conquer the World No. 2 in meetings in Acapulco (2021), Vienna (2021) and Roland Garros (2022). The German has particularly fond memories of their meeting on the Parisian clay, where he avenged his Madrid loss just three weeks later. 

“Of course with Carlos that would be a matchup people would look forward to. We played in the final here last year, played a massive match at [Roland Garros] before I got injured,” he said of his 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7) victory.

Nearly a year has passed since that match, and Zverev has endured a long road to recovery after the ankle injury he suffered against Rafael Nadal in his very next outing. But he is beginning to rediscover the sort of form that saw him reach back-to-back semi-finals at the clay-court Grand Slam. 

The German, who is seeking his sixth quarter-final in as many Madrid appearances, is one of the few players on the ATP Tour who can match Alcaraz for power. While he may not have the speed of the Spaniard, his length serves him well in defence and gives him an advantage on serve in the matchup.

Both men will be eager to land the first strikes in the rallies, with either player more than capable of ending points at any time with one big swing. With so little separating the opponents, this match could be won on the margins, by the man who can steal just a few extra points from defensive situations.

[5] Andrey Rublev vs. [10] Karen Khachanov

Rublev and Khachanov will press pause on their successful doubles partnership this week in Madrid to break a 2-2 tie in their ATP Head2Head singles series on Tuesday. Into the doubles quarter-finals in the Spanish capital, the partners will be on opposite sides of the net for the second time this month after Rublev earned a 7-6(4), 6-2 victory against Khachanov in Monte-Carlo en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 title.

The pair is now set to meet in the Round of 16 once again at that prestigious level, with Rublev seeking his third straight win against his good friend. Rublev also carries a four-match winning streak against Top 20 opponents into the match and is one win away from equalling his career-best run to the Madrid quarter-finals last season.

Khachanov has 11 Top 10 wins on his resume, but only two on clay, most recently against Juan Martin del Potro at Roland Garros in 2019. Earlier that same season, he earned his most recent win against Rublev at Indian Wells. After three-set wins against Thiago Monteiro and Roberto Bautista Agut propelled him into the Madrid fourth round for the first time, he will now attempt to be the first man to take a set off Rublev at this edition of the tournament.

A win for Khachanov would take him past Holher Rune into eighth place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as he pushes for his first appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Rublev expertly navigated two tricky opening matches against Stan Wawrinka and Yoshihito Nishioka to improve to 5-2 in Madrid. The road won’t get any easier in the quarter-finals for the winner of this showdown, with Alcaraz or Zverev next up.

[2] Daniil Medvedev vs. Aslan Karatsev

After beating one friend in qualifier Alexander Shevchenko on Monday, Medvedev returns to face another in Aslan Karatsev on Tuesday. Medvedev, along with Taylor Fritz, is hoping to make it four straight ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals to start the season (Indian Wells, Miami, Monte-Carlo, Madrid), a feat that would match Milos Raonic’s 2016 effort. 

Madrid and Rome are the only two Masters 1000s at which Medvedev has not reached the quarter-finals or better, and his recent form could see him rectify that statistic within the month of May. After winning four titles in five hard-court events, including a maiden Miami crown, Medvedev reached the quarters in Monte-Carlo before his run in Madrid.

Karatsev qualified for the Madrid main-draw and has reached the fourth round with upset wins against Botic van de Zandschulp and Alex de Minaur, the latter result coming in three sets on Monday. 

The 29-year-old has a history of success against the ATP Tour’s best, sporting a 5-7 record against Top 10 opponents and a 2-3 mark against the Top 3. But he has not added a win to either tally since 2021, when he beat Medvedev in Rome. 

If he can improve to 2-1 against the World No. 3, he will find himself in the quarter-finals at an ATP Masters 1000 for the first time after falling one match short of that stage three times.

Also In Action…

Four other seeded players are in action on Tuesday, including two who will play against one another. Among the Top 10, fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles and eighth seed Taylor Fritz meets China’s Zhang Zhizhen, who is enjoying his best run at a Masters 1000.

Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, the 29th seed, faces 17th seed Borna Coric, with the home favourite looking to back up his upset win against Holger Rune late Sunday night.

Jaume Munar — set to meet German lucky loser Daniel Altmaier — is the fourth Spanish player into the fourth round. The four home hopes in the Round of 16 is the most since 2015.

Spaniards In Madrid Round Of 16

2023 (4) 2015 (5)
Alcaraz Nadal 
Davidovich Fokina Ferrer
Munar Bautista Agut
Zapata Miralles Verdasco

Germany is also making some history with two lucky losers in the fourth round. Jan-Lennard Struff, who faces Argentina’s Pedro Cachin, joins Altmaier in that regard. Since the ATP Masters 1000 series began in 1990, only 15 players have reached the quarter-finals as lucky losers.

Two doubles quarter-finals are also on the Tuesday schedule. Fouth seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer meet Canadians Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov after eighth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin face Simone Bolelli and Fabrice Martin on Court 3.

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