For those looking to lift the Mutua Madrid Open trophy, Thursday could have been a key day. Second seed Alexander Zverev produced the most convincing victory of the day as he cruised past the Argentinian Leonardo Mayer 6-4, 6-2 in 70 minutes of tennis. In a clash held on the Arantxa Sánchez court, the German only lost eight points on his serve to send out a clear message.
The recent champion of Munich notched up his sixth consecutive win on clay maintaining a pace of play that appears to be unstoppable. Bidding for his third ATP Masters 1000 title this week, the player from Hamburg showed the Madrid crowd why he is number 3 in the world.
The result means the German is in the quarter-finals in the Caja Mágica for the second consecutive year. To achieve the best result of his career at the Mutua Madrid Open he will need to get past the winner of the match between US player John Isner and the Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.
If there is one player who has come into his own in the Caja Mágica it is Kyle Edmund, who is earning himself a reputation as something of a giant killer in the Caja Mágica. While on Wednesday he took down none other than Novak Djokovic, this time his victim was 8th seed David Goffin, whom he beat 6-3, 6-3, in one hour and 12 minutes.
The number 22 in the ATP ranking is enjoying his best performance ever at an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, having reached the quarter-finals on the Madrid clay. It is Edmund’s first participation in the Spanish capital.
The Briton was flawless on his serve, connecting with 7 aces and winning 86% of points when his first went in. He also broke his opponent on 3 of his 7 opportunities and saved both break points against him (2/2).
In his first quarter-finals at an ATP Masters 1000, Edmund will take on NextGenATP player Denis Shapovalov – who saw off Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4.
At 19 years of age, Shapovalov put on an exhibition of personality and flair to open his head to head with Raonic. The Canadian was able to handle Milos’ dizzying game with a clinical performance, breaking one serve per set to ensure victory.
Edmund leads his head to head with Shapovalov 2-1 as he steps into unknown territory. Their clash in Madrid will be the first time in their careers they have met on clay.
Lajovic upsets Del Potro
On a day of tight matches even the favourites had their struggles. Serbian player Dusan Lajovic produced the biggest victory of his career by coming back to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(6) against the Argentine Juan Martín del Potro after two hours and 17 minutes of play to progress to the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open.
The Balkan player, who is enjoying a dream run having come through qualifying, survived a battle in the Manolo Santana Stadium to progress to the quarter-finals of an ATP Masters 1000.
“It’s my best win, the first time I have beaten a top-10 player”, said Lajovic. “And I did it at a Masters 1000, where everyone brings their best game. It is a huge personal achievement. I think I had lost my previous 10 matches against top-10 players, and it’s one of the matches in which I’ve played my best tennis”.
In a to-and-fro tie, Lajovic won 75% of the points on his first serve to keep up with the pace of Del Potro. Despite playing his fifth match of the week in the Spanish capital, the Balkan player pushed his body to the limit to stay alive in the tournament.
“I feel like the people support me and I am grateful for the affection they give me. I always enjoy playing this tournament”, said Juan Martín. “Besides the tennis, it is a very beautiful place. I’ve been taking strolls around Madrid, I’ve eaten really well and playing in this city is always nice. Coming back is always special”.
The player from Belgrade will be playing for a place in the semi-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open against 7th seed Kevin Anderson, who beat German player Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6(7).
Anderson won his only match with the Serbian, which came in Miami in the 2017 season. They have never met on clay.
For his part, last year’s runner-up Dominic Thiem was taken to the limit on the Caja Mágica clay. The Austrian returned serve to stay in the match in the second set and was just two points from defeat before coming back to produce a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over the Croatian Borna Coric in two hours and 24 minutes.
The current world number 7, who reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Madrid in 2017, dug deep in an open match to claim a memorable victory. On a day of upsets he made a strong claim as a possible heir to the throne.