Fixture: (4) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Benoit Paire
Date: 5 May 2021
Tournament: Mutua Madrid Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Madrid, Spain
Category: ATP Masters 1000
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €2,614,465
Match timing: Not before 8 pm local time, 11.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel | UK – Amazon Prime Video
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Benoit Paire preview
Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of the most in-form players on tour right now. The Greek has been unbelievably consistent in 2021 so far, racking up some excellent results.
Prior to the clay swing, Tsitsipas reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and Rotterdam, the final in Acapulco and the quarterfinals in Miami. The 22-year-old then began his European clay season with his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, following which he reached the final in Barcelona too.
Tsitsipas has already defeated the likes of Rafael Nadal, Andrey Rublev, Jannik Sinner and Roberto Bautista Agut this year. He is now defending points in Madrid as the finalist of the last edition of the tournament in 2019, and takes on France’s Benoit Paire in the second round.
Paire has made headlines this year mostly for non-tennis reasons. The Frenchman has heavily criticised life in COVID bio-bubbles, and repeatedly spoken about lack of motivation while playing in front of empty stadiums. His mid-match meltdowns this year have caught the attention of people all over the world.
The 31-year-old had only won one match on the ATP tour this year prior to the Madrid Masters, in the first round at Cordoba. He did, however, pick up a confidence-boosting win over recently crowned Munich champion Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Madrid first round on Tuesday.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Benoit Paire head-to-head
The second round encounter in Madrid is the fourth match between the two players, and Stefanos Tsitsipas currently leads the head-to-head 2-1 over Benoit Paire.
The Frenchman won their first encounter, which took place back in 2017 at Metz. Since then, Tsitsipas has got the better of Paire at Washington 2019 and Acapulco 2021.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Benoit Paire prediction
Stefanos Tsitsipas comes into the match as the overwhelming favorite, given his recent form. The Greek was already a formidable claycourt player, but his improved backhand and consistent first serve have made him a lethal force to reckon with this year.
Tsitsipas has also shown in the past that he has no issues dealing with the high altitude conditions in Madrid. The 22-year-old reached the final in 2019, even beating Rafael Nadal along the way.
Benoit Paire, on his part, turned several heads by beating the in-form Basilashvili in the first round. With his desire for fans to fill the stadium fulfilled, Paire may well have put the off-court distractions behind him and gained some much-needed focus.
The Frenchman is more than capable of using his skills and wide range of shots to excel on clay, his best surface. But unless there is a monumental drop-off in Tsitsipas’ level from the past few months, it is difficult to see him lose this one.
Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in straight sets.