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Stefanos Tsitsipas is chasing his third ATP Masters 1000 title in Madrid.

Tsitsipas Meets In-Form Struff For Madrid SF Spot

Zhang faces Karatsev as semi-final lineup to be completed on Thursday

The remaining two quarter-finals will light up the Caja Magica on Thursday at the Mutua Madrid Open, where fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas headlines the action in the bottom half of the draw at the ATP Masters 1000.

The Greek competes in his 19th Masters 1000 quarter-final while his opponent, Jan-Lennard Struff, will be appearing in just his third. First-time quarter-finalists Zhang Zhizhen and Aslan Karatsev are the other two players hoping to join Carlos Alcaraz and Borna Coric in the semi-finals.

ATPTour.com looks ahead to Thursday’s scheduled action on the clay of the Spanish capital.

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[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. [LL] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)

A big-serving battle kicks off the night session on Manolo Santana Stadium as 2019 finalist Tsitsipas meets the former World No. 29 Struff for the first time since 2020.

Tsitsipas leads 3-2 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series, but it was the German who prevailed in their only previous clash on clay in 2019 in Barcelona. The Greek will also be wary that he is facing a man in form: Although Struff entered the main draw at the Caja Magica as a lucky loser, he is appearing in back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals after his run to that stage in Monte-Carlo.

Finding rhythm on serve could be decisive to the outcome of the match. Tsitsipas landed 39 straight first serves in his second-round triumph against Dominic Thiem but was broken three times by Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the fourth round. The Greek will hope to rediscover his best delivery and maintain the high level off his backhand wing that he found in the fourth round as he chases his first title of 2023.

"It's like hitting a home run with a baseball bat," said Tsitsipas, when asked about the series of down-the-line backhand winners he hit against Zapata Miralles. "I'm happy with how I was able to [direct] the ball. There were a few times when the ball came in deep and you'd expect a cross-court, but I was able to [redirect it down the line]. It's something I have been working on."

Struff, who lost to fellow quarter-finalist Karatsev in the final round of qualifying, possesses a booming delivery of his own and has defeated Lorenzo Sonego, Ben Shelton, Dusan Lajovic and Pedro Cachin so far in his personal-best run in Madrid. With the German battling to victory across three sets in three of those triumphs, the fourth-seeded Tsitsipas will be prepared for a tough challenge on Thursday in the Spanish capital.

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Zhang Zhizhen (CHN) vs. [Q] Aslan Karatsev

An intriguing quarter-final matchup between two players enjoying a hot streak on the Madrid clay, the World No. 99 Zhang takes on No. 121-ranked Karatsev in the first match of the day on Manolo Santana Stadium.

Both are playing in their maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final, but Karatsev is the more experienced on the big stage. The 29-year-old is a three-time ATP Tour titlist and became the first man in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals on Grand Slam debut at the 2021 Australian Open.

As clean a ballstriker as anyone on Tour, Karatsev is chasing his seventh straight win in Madrid after coming through qualifying to earn a spot in the main draw. His stunning straight-sets victory against Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round, a display full of trademark baseline winners, was a reminder of his ability to take the racquet out of his opponent’s hand.

On the other side of the net on Thursday, however, will be the history-making Zhang. The No. 66 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, he will become the first Chinese player in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history to break the Top 50 should he defeat Karatsev. The 26-year-old has upset 11th seed Cameron Norrie and eighth seed Taylor Fritz en route to becoming the first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finalist from his country.