It’s been a captivating week of tennis at the ATP Madrid Open so far, and the action continues on Day 3! Who will win and who will fall short during the second Masters 1000 of the season? Read on to find out my best guesses!
We also predict the rest of the day’s matches, in three other articles. On features Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Casper Ruud, the second highlights Alex De Minaur vs Lloyd Harris, and the third features Karen Khachanov vs Kei Nishikori.
ATP Madrid Open Day 3 Predictions
Guido Pella vs Jannik Sinner
Head to Head: never played
Guido Pella retired from a set up against John Millman last week in Munich, so his physical condition is in question for this match. It’s a shame he had to retire from that match against Millman, as he was holding Millman to just 33% second serves won. Jannik Sinner is one of the most promising rising stars on the ATP Tour! In his last tournament in Barcelona, he made the semifinals before falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. Sinner will have to serve better than he did against Tsitsipas, as he only won 57% of service points during that match.
These two have never played before. Sinner has more power than Pella, and Pella’s lefty crosscourt forehands won’t be as they will be going to Sinner’s strength: his backhand. Pella’s physical condition is also a concern going into this match. Given the power difference and the fact Sinner is playing with controlled aggression (as opposed to being out of control), expect the Italian to come through this match without too many issues.
Prediction: Sinner in 2
Marcos Giron vs Dominic Thiem
Head to Head: never played
Marcos Giron did well to qualify for this tournament and then took out Pablo Andujar in 3 physical sets. Giron held Andujar to 46% second serves won and recovered from a break down in the third set. Dominic Thiem is playing his first match since Dubai. Thiem, who has been very open about his mental health struggles since winning the US Open last season, will be back on his best surface (clay) in Madrid.
These two have never played before. Giron will surely be exhausted after a 3 hour and 21 minute battle against Andujar and spending over 5 hours on the court in qualifying. Giron’s game relies on his legs, too, as he is a good, consistent counterpuncher, but he will surely not be in his best physical shape for this match. Dominic Thiem has the perfect opponent for him to shake the rust off against. But, regardless of Giron’s physical condition, Thiem has much more power than the American and should be able to control the baseline with ease. Thiem advances.
Prediction: Thiem in 2
Alexander Bublik vs Denis Shapovalov
Head to Head: 1-0 Bublik
Alexander Bublik will be looking to build on his big win over Marton Fucsovics in the first round. Bublik won 73% of his first serves during that match and was only broken once during the match. Denis Shapovalov loves the faster conditions in Madrid and played an excellent first round match when he beat Dusan Lajovic comfortably. Shapovalov did even better on his first serve than Bublik, winning 90% of his first serve points and not getting broken all match.
Bublik leads the head to head 1-0, although that was a match on indoor hard court, so it’s not relevant to this match. Both players will be looking to play first-strike tennis and really control the baseline, getting the upper hand in points early on. Bublik is a bit hit-or-miss, however, and probably dislikes the clay more than Shapovalov. Shapovalov is a bit more steady and will look to attack the Bublik backhand with his forehand in crosscourt exchanges. Look for Shapovalov to come through this match, although it will be tight.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 3
Main Photo from Getty.