Day three at the ATP Madrid Open features 16 singles matches at La Caja Magica on Friday and, as always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match on the schedule, including Carlos Alcaraz vs Emil Ruusuvuori and Alexander Zverev vs Roberto Carballes Baena. But who will book their place in the third round in the Spanish capital?
ATP Madrid Day 3 Predictions
Gregoire Barrere vs Grigor Dimitrov
Head-to-head: Dimitrov 2-0 Barrere
Gregoire Barrere has won nine of 17 tour level matches this season and also claimed the Quimper Challenger title in January. In his previous clay events, the 29-year-old Frenchman lost to Benoit Paire in Monte Carlo qualifying and eventual winner Dusan Lajovic in Banja Luka last week. The world #56 won 6-0 5-7 6-3 against Emilio Nava in the opening round in Madrid on Wednesday.
Grigor Dimitrov, meanwhile, is 10-7 this year and started his clay season in Monte Carlo, where he lost to Jiri Lehecka in the second round. The Bulgarian was then forced to withdraw ahead of his second round Barcelona Open match with Alex De Minaur last week. One of the 31-year-old Bulgarian’s two victories over the Frenchman was a convincing straight sets win at the 2020 French Open. Dimitrov should have enough to come through at a tournament where he has reached the third round or better five times in nine appearances.
Prediction: Dimitrov in 2
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Quentin Halys vs Roberto Bautista Agut
Head-to-head: Halys 1-0 Bautista Agut
Halys has a solid 12-11 win/loss ratio this season, with seven of his wins coming since the start of the Miami Open last month. The Frenchman, ranked 66th in the world, reached the semifinals at the clay court ATP 250 event in Estoril earlier in April, narrowly losing to eventual champion Casper Ruud in a third set tiebreak, and that run in Portugal included a 7-6 7-5 triumph over Roberto Bautista Agut.
The 26-year-old Frenchman maintained his solid recent form, recovering from a set down to beat Alexei Popyrin 4-6 6-4 6-4 in the opening round this week. Bautista Agut, currently a shadow of the player he once was, has won just three matches since the Australian Open and is 2-3 on clay for the season. The 35-year-old, unusually for a Spaniard not particularly at home on the clay, has struggled at the ATP Madrid Open since making the last four on his debut in 2014. In favorable conditions, the big-serving Halys is playing well enough to defeat Bautista Aut again, on what is the Spaniard’s worst surface.
Prediction: Halys in 3
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Hugo Gaston vs Borna Coric
Head-to-head: first meeting
Hugo Gaston has earned just two wins from his six ATP matches, itself a disappointing number, in 2023, though both wins have both come on his preferred clay. The 22-year-old Frenchman reached the second round in Marrakech, before losses in the opening round of Monte Carlo qualifying and the first round in Banja Luka. The Frenchman, who made the fourth round at Roland Garros back in 2020, bounced back to see off his compatriot Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-4 in the opening round in Madrid.
Borna Coric has had a disappointing start to the year and is on a five-match losing streak. This run includes clay court defeats to Nicolas Jarry and Laslo Djere in Monte Carlo and Banja Luka respectively. The World No. 20 was a quarterfinalist in Madrid in 2017 and is 6-5 overall at the event. The altitude should suit the 26-year-old Croatian, who has a far stronger serve and more firepower than his creative but ultimately outgunned opponent.
Prediction: Coric in 3
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Stan Wawrinka vs Andrey Rublev
Head-to-head: Wawrinka 2-1 Rublev
Stan Wawrinka has had a positive 2023 season, winning 11 of his 19 tour matches (2-2 on clay). The world #84 lost to Taylor Fritz in the second round in Monte Carlo and Luca van Assche in the opening round in Banja Luka. The 38-year-old overcame Maxime Cressy 6-7(3) 6-3 7-6(4) in the first round this week. Andrey Rublev will likely provide a sterner test. The Russian boasts an excellent 21-9 record this year and comes into Madrid following two fine clay-court runs in as many weeks.
Rublev first claimed his maiden Masters 1000 crown in Monte Carlo, before losing to Lajovic in the final in Banja Luka last week. All three previous meetings were on hard courts, with Wawrinka winning the most recent clash at the 2020 Paris Masters. But the Swiss is not the player he once was and, although fatigue may be a slight factor, the 25-year-old Russian’s had a few days and is in superb form. He should have the edge here.
Prediction: Rublev in 3
Main photo credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports