Three of the top seeds at the Madrid Masters exited the tournament today as Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev were defeated.
The shock result was that of Tsitsipas who has been in formidable form on clay lately, winning his first Monte-Carlo Masters and reaching the final of Barcelona last week.
Despite a promising start to his Madrid campaign, the Greek was stopped today by Casper Ruud who defeated him 7-6, 6-4 in what was the Norwegian's first victory against top five opposition.
After the match, Ruud paid tribute to his opponent but said he took advantage of some of his mistakes.
"He is one of the best players this year on the Tour, one of the ones who has won the most matches," said Ruud.
"But the conditions are a bit different here than other clay courts with the fast shots, the ball traveling faster through the air because of the altitude. You get a lot of free points with the serve that you don't usually [get] on the clay courts. I think that also today went a bit in my advantage.
"I felt like he was doing some mistakes that he doesn't always do. I was just trying to take care of the chances that I got."
Meanwhile second seed Medvedev, who makes no secret of the fact he dislikes the clay surface, was beaten 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 by Christian Garin.
The Russian had said his goal was to win just one match this week, a feat he had never achieved before in Madrid and he looked frustrated throughout, receiving a warning at one point for arguing with a member of the crowd.
Afterwards, Garin said, “It was a very tough match for me. I think one of the best wins of my career, so I’m very happy. I think I played more solid (in the third set)."
Sixth seed Andrey Rublev also crashed out on Thursday getting beat 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 in a tight match against American John Isner.
After the match, Isner gave an bluntly honest account of the result.
"I'm very happy. I wasn’t the better player out there today; I did win the match. My serve kept me in it," said Isner.
"There’s a reason he’s won so many matches this year,” he concluded.
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