On paper the second seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas looks to have been given an easier passage to the final following the dismissal of the only other seed in his half of the draw but he will have to maintain a high level if he is to make it there.
There was a certain point in the match when I forgot I needed to win, as I was enjoying the game and the atmosphere, the crowd. I was playing with positive vibes and energy. Stefanos Tsitsipas
While he beat qualifier Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 7-5 6-4 in his second round match, the eighth seeded Karen Khachanov was dismissed 6-1 6-2 by Serbia’s Lusan Lajovic in just 62-minutes to progress into the quarter-final to face the German instead of the Russian.
While the Khacahanov Lajovic match was a disappointment with the Russian seemingly unable to respond to the aggressive play from his opponent, the Tsitsipas Cuevas match was the opposite.
In what was his third win over the Uruguayan in as many meetings, the Greek star was forced to fend off all the five break points he faced in the opening set and converted the two he earned in the second to claim the match after 91-minutes of hectic and tense play.
“I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very difficult opponent to face, particularly on this surface,” said Tsitsipas, in his on-court interview. “He is a good friend and one of my idols growing up. It was a great match and I enjoyed it. There was a certain point in the match when I forgot I needed to win, as I was enjoying the game and the atmosphere, the crowd. I was playing with positive vibes and energy.”
Meanwhile in the top half the Rome semi-finalist Casper Ruud continues to play at an intense level, this time requiring 67-minutes to dispatch sixth seed Fabio Fognini, the Italian heartthrob 6-3 6-3 in 67 minutes to reach the quarters. The Norwegian struck 14 winners and made only nine unforced errors, dropping just ten points in nine service games while only once dropping his serve.
He also converted all the four break chances which came his way to slip comfortably into the last eight where he will face Ugo Humbert of France, the round one conqueror of the top seeded Daniil Medvedev, who made the quarters by dispatching, after an hour and 45-minutes, the Czech qualifier Jiri Veseley 6-4 6-3.
A day earlier the first four quarter-final places had been filled by Roberto Bautista Agut, Andrey Rublev, Alexander Bublic and Cristian Garin.
Bautista Agut, seeded 4 and Rublev, 5, should provide the highlight of the quarter-finals as both are showing some good form despite each dropping a set in their respective second round matches.
Spain’s Bautista Agut, who last week celebrated the arrival of his first child, defeated Dominik Kopepfer, the only player to take a set off Novak Djokovic last week in Rome, 6-3 3-6 6-3, while Russia’s Rublev, eventually quelled the American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-1 3-6 6-2.
In the bottom half Chilean Carin defeated Yannik Hanfmann, a German wildcard 6-2 7-6(3) and Alexandar Bublic of Kazakhstan oust Felix Auger-Alliasime of Canada 6-4 6-2.