Stefanos Tsitsipas felt his rival was as fast as a cheetah on centre court at the Madrid Open.
Point after point, his opponent Sebastian Baez kept chasing down balls to stay in contention in the third-round match.
The third-seeded Tsitsipas came through in the clutch moments, though, earning a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win over the 31st-ranked Baez on Monday to secure a spot in the last 16 of the clay-court tournament.
Tsitsipas won the last four games of the opening set and the last three of the third to advance.
“I had to bring the best out of my game,” Tsitsipas said.
“He wasn’t missing much.Of course he’s someone that covers and runs around the court pretty well.He definitely utilised that pretty well against me, being able to navigate himself throughout the entire court with ease, just gliding through the court like a cheetah.”
Tsitsipas broke for 5-3 in the third set and saved two break points before serving it out.“He really fought for every single point,” Tsitsipas said, “and I’m glad obviously that I overcame this.”
Iga fights back
Women’s world No.1 Iga Swiatek dropped her first set of the tournament before securing a 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3 win over 16th-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova.She will be making her first quarter final appearance in Madrid, against the 27th-seeded Petra Martic, who advanced past 11th-seeded Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 7-6 (1).
Swiatek is the first player to reach the quarter finals or better at eight consecutive clay-court tournaments since Simona Halep made it to 10 in a row between 2016 and 2019.
Third-seeded American Jessica Pegula, last year’s runner-up in Madrid, reached the last eight by beating Martina Trevisan 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.
Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka advanced after ending Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva’s impressive run at the tournament.
After three straight-set victories against top-40 opponents in her main-draw debut, the 16-year-old wildcard entry lost 6-3, 6-1 to Sabalenka.
Sabalenka’s next opponent will be Mayar Sherif, who beat Elise Merten 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 after nearly three hours to become the first Egyptian to reach the quarter finals of a WTA 1000 tournament.