Steely Stef ousts Ofner in Barcelona

Monte-Carlo champion extends winning streak to seven matches, Ruud advances
April 17, 2024
Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell
Stefanos Tsitsipas defeats Sebastian Ofner on Wednesday in Barcelona. By ATP Staff

Can Stefanos Tsitsipas continue his resurgence on the European clay?

The Greek delivered a performance that suggested he can on Wednesday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. The fifth seed overcame the big-hitting Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 7-5 to begin his campaign at the ATP 500 and back up his title run at last week’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

“I feel pretty good, but it is still early in the tournament,” said Tsitsipas in his post-match interview. “The conditions here are very different to Monte-Carlo and I felt it today when I was playing. My job is to adapt and to ensure I can bring my 'A' game again in Barcelona this week.

“Today was a great test to see where I stand. I’m hoping to keep on improving and getting good wins like this under my belt.”

It was not all plain sailing for the No. 7 in the PIF ATP Rankings on Pista Rafa Nadal. Having claimed the opening set, he was forced to rally from 3-5 down in the second before wrapping a 97-minute victory. He converted five of eight break points he earned against Ofner, according to Infosys ATP Stats, to extend his winning streak to seven matches.

“I stepped in and started taking pretty much all my shots as early as possible,” said Tsitsipas, when asked how he had turned the second set around. “I think he was really getting into the rhythm at some point during the match and he kind of felt unstoppable. I had to do something else and it kind of worked.

“It was a very tricky situation there, handling 3-5 down in the second set. I dealt with it perfectly, managed to break and had a great series of points after that. I did a great job behind the baseline, adapting, but also pressing as much as I could.”

Tsitsipas is now 17-5 in Barcelona, where he reached the championship match in 2018, 2021 and 2023. His next assignment in Spain is a third-round meeting with home favourite Roberto Carballes Baena, who upset 10th seed Lorenzo Musetti 7-6(4), 6-4.

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Earlier on Wednesday, Casper Ruud bounced back quickly from the disappointment of his Monte-Carlo final defeat to Tsitsipas with a convincing opening victory against Alexandre Muller.

Ruud prevailed 6-3, 6-4 against the French World No. 110 for his 25th tour-level win of the season, a tally which draws him level with Jannik Sinner for the most in 2024 so far. Ruud will next attempt to reach his second Barcelona quarter-final when he meets Jordan Thompson in the third round. The Australian downed Jaume Munar 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Roberto Bautista Agut hit a notable milestone with his second-round victory at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona. The 36-year-old beat Andrea Vavassori 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 for his 400th tour-level victory. Bautista Agut, who became one of just 13 active players on Tour to hit that number, will meet 12th seed Cameron Norrie next.

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Marco Trungelliti and Dusan Lajovic both upset seeded opponents to book their third-round spots. Trungelliti overcame ninth seed Nicolas Jarry 7-6(5), 6-3 to avenge his defeat to the Chilean in Barcelona a year ago. The Argentine qualifier will next take on Matteo Arnaldi.

Lajovic downed the in-form Ugo Humbert 6-4, 6-4 in the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting. The Serbian converted four of five break points he earned against the sixth seed, according to Infosys ATP Stats, en route to a 76-minute win.

His next opponent will be home favourite Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The 11th seed advanced after Tomas Machac was forced to withdraw from their second-round clash due to illness.

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