Tsitsipas Cruises Past Pouille In Madrid Opener
Stefanos Tsitsipas showed why he is one of the men to beat on the European clay with an assured start to his Mutua Madrid Open campaign on Wednesday evening. The Greek improved to 8-1 on the surface this season with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over French wild card Lucas Pouille. With the win, he became the first man to record 25 ATP Tour match wins on the year.
"It was good magic, a fair amount of magic dust," Tsitsipas said of his victory at the Caja Magica. "A great start at the beginning of this tournament."
The fourth seed faced just one break point on the night, when he surrendered serve in between a pair of breaks in an eventful middle period of the opening set. He left no doubt in set two, following an early break with a love hold to open up a decisive advantage.
Outside of the game in which Pouille broke at love, Tsitsipas dominated on serve. He won 94 per cent (31/33) of his first deliveries, including seven aces, with the last one coming on match point.
Tsitsipas also owned the Balance of Power battle on Manolo Santana Stadium, playing 30% of his shots in attack compared to 22% for his opponent. (Learn more about Balance of Power.)
Pouille, who broke into the Top 10 in 2018, entered the match in good form after a straight-sets win over Karen Khachanov. But Tsitsipas proved to be on a different level in the one-hour, eight-minute contest. The World No. 174 Frenchman was seeking to equal the best win of his career by ATP Ranking against the World No. 5.
Tsitsipas, who is 31-6 on clay since the start of 2021 with three titles in five finals, advances to face Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16. The Bulgarian was a 6-0, 6-3 winner over Diego Schwartzman earlier on Wednesday.
Speaking about that impeccable clay-court record, Tsitsipas explained that he prefers to keep his focus on the present: "I don't really think about this stuff, to be honest with you," he said.
"I've had good runs in the past. I've played well on this surface but every single day is a different challenge. Everyone wants to go out there and play the best they can against me, so I'm just going to try to play consistently as much as I can."