Thiem Sets Tsitsipas Clash In Madrid

Austrian reached final in 2017 & 2018

Dominic Thiem continued his impressive record at the Mutua Madrid Open on Thursday when he moved past Briton Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-1 to set up a second-round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The former World No. 3 has reached at least the semi-finals in four of his past five appearances in the Spanish capital and he looked in control throughout his first-round clash against Edmund.

Thiem struggled at the start of 2023, with his first-round defeat in Miami last month marking his ninth loss in 10 matches to that point in the season. However, he has begun to find form on the European clay, a surface he has won 10 of his 17 tour-level titles on.

Last month, the Austrian advanced to quarter-finals at ATP 250 clay-court events in Estoril and Munich, and reached the second round in Monte-Carlo to earn his first ATP Masters 1000 win since 2021. With his win against Edmund, he improved to 6-3 on the European clay-court season.

The Austrian won 86 per cent (24/28) of his first-serve points and remained strong under pressure, saving all four break points he faced to advance after 84 minutes and improve to 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head series against the 28-year-old Edmund.

"It was not easy in the beginning. First match on the centre court and I was mainly practising outside, so it is a different feeling," Thiem said. "I have known Kyle since we were juniors. He has been a tough opponent since the young days, so I went in with a lot of respect. I had some crucial moments in the first set when I saved the break points and then I released a little bit and it got better and better."

With his victory, Thiem improved to 17-7 at the clay-court tournament, while he has climbed two spots to No. 91 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

"I love this court, I have great memories and played some great matches here," Thiem said. "Results wise this is my best [ATP] Masters 1000 tournament by far, so it is time to work on that reputation. Once I was a very tough guy to beat on clay and it is not the case right now, but I am feeling that I am getting better and back to shape."

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Thiem will next play fourth seed Tsitsipas. The Austrian leads the Greek 5-3 in their ATP Head2Head series.

"I am looking forward to that one a lot," Thiem said when asked about facing Tsitsipas. "I like him a lot. He is an unbelievable player, I like watching his matches. He is very elegant. We've had some great matchups."

In other action, Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry downed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-0, while Roman Safiullin defeated Chilean Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Etcheverry next meets Frances Tiafoe and Safiullin plays Tommy Paul.

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