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Madrid: A Round-Of-16 Full Of Surprises

May 4th 2023

Surprises continued at the 2023 Mutua Madrid Open. This time it was Russian Aslan Karatsev who defeated compatriot Daniil Medvedev 7-6 6-4 in stadium 2 of the Caja Mágica tennis complex.

Medvedev spent time complaining about the size of the court, which has smaller retirement spaces than the center court and this made it difficult for him to maximize his game. At one point he stopped in a game and asked why they had put him on that court if he was number 2 in the tournament.

Karatsev took advantage of Medvedev's chaotic play to not give up chances in the second set and thus won a spot in the quarterfinals.

Another surprise of the tournament came from  Zhizhen Zhang of China at the expense of the American Taylor Fritz. He became the first player from that country to reach the quarterfinals of an ATP Master 1000 tournament.

Stefanos Tsitsipas


Zhang showed himself to be a combative player, saving three match points to end up winning in three tight sets, 3-6 7-6 7-6. He had also never beaten a top ten player before.

Zhang had just defeated the Brit Cameron Norrie 2-6 7-6 7-6. It seems that fighting is in his DNA.

And to close the surprises, although this one is not quite on the level as the others, in another match between Russian players, Kachanov defeated Rublev in two sets, 7-6 6-4. Old acquaintances and doubles partners, Kachanov played cleverly mixing shots and varying speed, which caused Rublev to fly into a rage at his unforced errors.

The favorite players who did not fail were Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Alcaraz passed over Alexander Zverev who could not find his game. Sascha lost at least two service games having led 40-0. This morphed into body language in which he was demoralized and crestfallen. Carlos Alcaraz won 6-1 6-2.

Stefanos Tsitsipas ended the dream of Spanish player Bernabé Zapata 6-3 6-1. The Greek player controlled the game at all times and was much superior. Zapata seemed a bit tired and had muscular problems, but he was happy with his performance during the tournament.

In the rest of the matches, the German Jan-Lennard Struff beat the Argentine Pedro Cachin 7-6 6-7 6-3. Another German goes to the quarterfinals, Daniel Altmaier after beating the Spanish Jaume Munar 6-3 6-0 and Borna Coric, in a very exciting match, defeated Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-7 6-3 7-6.

Curiously, the quarterfinals of this 2023 edition are made up of two players who entered the main draw as lucky losers (Jan-Lennard Struff and Daniel Altmaier) and a player from the qualifiers such as Aslan Karatsev.