Madrid | Norrie secures win on day Thiem nearly tops Tstsipas

On the fourth day of the Mutua Madrid Masters, the remaining two Brits in the men’s draw, saw action for the first time in the Spanish capital with Dan Evans joining the growing number of seeds making early exits in round two which on this occasion, numbered nine.

It was very physical and I think we both played our best,. I’m in a way happy that we were able to show that kind of tennis Stefanos Tsitsipas

Evans, seeded 19, was knocked out in straight sets by Spain’s world No.42, Bernabe Zapata Miralles losing in 79-minutes, 6-3 6-2 failing to make the most of his good run the previous week when he reached the semi-finals of the Barcelona Open.

For a brief moment Cameron Norrie looked like he might be joining his compatriot, but he went on to secure a 6-4 7-6(5) victory over Japanese qualifier, Yosuke Watanuki to advance into the last 32.

Seeded 11, the 27-year-old British No.1 rallied from a break down in the opening set to deliver a 6-4 7-6(5) victory over the spirited challenge by his Japanese opponent.

Norrie won five games in a row to secure the first set before edging a second-set tie-break at the clay-court event, an important tournament in the build-up to the French Open, which starts on 28 May.

He will face Zhizhen Zhang in the next round after the Chinaman came through a tough three setter against the 21st seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada, 6-7(4) 6-4 7-6(1).

The highest seed to fall on the day was Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime who at 7, was beaten by Serbia’s 32-year-old Dusan Lajovic, 6-3 3-6 7-6(5).


Dusan Lajovic provided the upset of the day

Jose Manuel Alvarez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

“It was super tight at the end,” Lajovic said later. “I was just hoping that he was going to stay back on my serve, because when he was coming in, I was feeling a lot of pressure.”


Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas produced the match of the day in Madrid

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

However, the match of the day proved to be the clash between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem which saw the fourth seeded Greek battle over two-hours and 19-minutes before advancing past the Austrian wild card 3-6 6-1 7-6(5).

“It was very physical and I think we both played our best,” Tsitsipas said later. “I’m in a way happy that we were able to show that kind of tennis.

“Today sort of showed what kind of intensity two guys that play single-hand backhands can bring to tennis. I’m happy I got away with a win. Things weren’t easy at the very end, but I just kept fighting.”

The two former Madrid finalist were meeting for the first time in over two years, and it was Thiem who set the scene by jumping into an early lead and claim the first set.

He kept the pressure on in the second but once Tsitsipas got his serve firing properly, he started to swing the match his way by getting back on level terms.

In the middle of the third, Tsitsipas escaped from a tricky 0-30 situation and later failed to convert one of the five break points he created with Thiem serving at 5-all.

Even in the final set breaker, Thiem lead early 3-1 only to falter under the attacking Tsitsipas game who recovered his mini-break and stormed off with the match and a meeting with Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, a 3-6 6-3 6-4 winner over American Marcus Giron.

Despite the loss, Thiem, a former US Open champion, will have been encouraged by his performance as it was certainly the best he has played since major wrist surgery following his sole slam triumph in New York.

In other action second-seeded Daniil Medvedev marched on moving past Italian qualifier Andrea Vavassori 6-4 6-3, in what looked like a practice match for the Russian who hit four aces and matched them with four double faults.

“I played well today. I felt [good],” said Medvedev who lost only eight points on his first delivery and never dropped his serve. “There were some tight moments in the match, but when we had rallies from the baseline, I felt like many times I was in control. I’m really happy about my level.”

Two top Americans also advanced. Taylor Fritz, seeded 8, won a tough opening set breaker to defeat Aussie Christopher O’Connell 7-6(11) 6-4 and Frances Tiafoe, seeded 9, ousted Argentina’ s Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-3 7-6(5, recovering from a 5-3 deficit in the second set while the 16th-seeded Australian, Alex De Minaur knocked out Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-4 7-6(5).

Other seed who have lost out in the second round are America’s Tommy Paul (14), Dutchman Botic Van De Zandschulp, (23), Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo (24), Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic (27), the Czech Jiri Lehecka (31) and American Ben Shelton (32)




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