© Corinne Dubreuil//ATP Tour

Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the FedEx ATP Race To Turin.

Tsitsipas Storms Past Paire In Madrid

The Greek will next play Ruud or Nishioka

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been a force on the ATP Tour this season, and the Greek showed that on Wednesday evening in a convincing 6-1, 6-2 victory against Benoit Paire in the second round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

The Frenchman battled hard despite an apparent abdominal injury. But anything Paire tried, Tsitsipas had an answer for, and he moved into the third round after 54 minutes. The 22-year-old is now tied with Andrey Rublev for the most tour-level wins in 2021 with 27.

Tsitsipas, who recently won his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, played his typically aggressive game to storm into the early lead as his opponent struggled to consistently find the court.

After the first set, Paire received a visit from the trainer and the Frenchman removed kinesio tape he had on his abdominal region. Tsitsipas quickly broke to add to his lead, but the World No. 35 fought back. 

Paire, a three-time ATP Tour champion, showed the beautiful artistic game he is capable of with a variety of drop shots and cat-and-mouse play at the net. But too often the Frenchman was unable to harness his groundstrokes when trying to be aggressive from the baseline, and that allowed Tsitsipas to surge ahead.

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The fourth seed leads the FedEx ATP Race To Turin by 350 points over second-placed Rublev. The Greek star is now 10-1 on clay this season. His only loss came after holding championship point against Rafael Nadal in the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell final last month.

Tsitsipas will next play Monte-Carlo semi-finalist Casper Ruud, who beat Japanese lefty Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1, 6-2 to back up his first-round victory against Felix Auger-Aliassime. It will be Ruud and Tsitsipas' first ATP Head2Head meeting.

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