Yesterday I said a few words about this tournament but it's time to look into the details.
ATP Masters 1000
First let's see what ATP Masters 1000 means.
The ATP Masters tournaments (previously known as ATP Masters Series) is a series of nine tennis tournaments featuring the top-ranked players on the ATP Tour. The series is the most prestigious in men's tennis after the four Grand Slams. The series' events are held annually in Europe, North America and Asia since the debut of ATP Tour in 1990. source
ATP Masters 1000 are the tournaments where usually you can see all the top level players, unless there's a reason to stop them from participating, like an injury for example. In order to maintain their ATP rank, they need to accumulate ATP points and these are the tournaments where they can get the most, plus let's not forget the titles.
Collecting Grand Slam titles is also a must, it's a question of prestige and most of the top level players are hoping to get the most and break records. At the moment Novac Djokovic is the record holder for the most titles with 36 since the Masters Series began. Second in line is none other that the Spanish Rafa Nadal with 35 and then Federer with 28. You can see the stress at the top level, Djokovic now has to win as many as he can in order to keep his leading position, while Nadal has to win even more to be able to take the lead.
At the moment things are not looking great for either of them as they both have been defeated before they could reach the finals, by your and lower ranking players. No one knows what the future holds but they have to give the best they can ans the new generation is very good.
If you look at the leader board, only the top two are currently active, which means the younger generation will have a hard time to catch up, let alone break those records. Maybe in ten years we're going to see a change but till then ... no chance.
This tournament is also known as the Mutua Madrid Open. It's a clay tournament and has a funny history. In 2012, Ion Țiriac, the owner of the tournament decided to introduce a blue clay. The motivation for his decision was a better visibility especially in TV. Some suspected that this wasn't the real motive, they said the decision was made to please the sponsor of the tournament, the insurance company called Mutua Madrileña.
In the first edition on blue clay both Djokovic and Nadal lost and there were threats of boycott, due to which organizers decided to go back to the previous settings and use the red clay again.
Ion Țiriac, a Romanian former ATP pro and now billionaire businessman, has been the owner of the tournament since 2009. According to a Romanian publication which interviewed Țiriac in 2019, the tournament brings to the city of Madrid annual benefits exceeding €107 million. source
The current title holder is none other than the Serbian Novak Djocovik, who in 2019 won against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. In 2020 the tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Dušan Lajović vs Denis Shapovalov (1-6) (3-6)
Not that I was expecting much from this match, but the result is more than disappointing. Dušan Lajović, the Serbian professional tennis player won the Serbian Open in 2019, but today was not his day. losing to (1-6) (3-6) is not something you want to write home about.
Márton Fucsovics vs Alexander Bublik (6-7) (3-6)
This was the match I was expecting as I wanted to see Márton Fucsovics playing. I'm not going to lie, I had high hopes and what I got was a big slap on the face.
In the first set I had the impression of watching the best match of the tournament. Both players were at the same level, there were some very nice games and looked like it's going to be a very tight match. At some point Márton Fucsovics managed to create a break and lead to 5 - 3. Then we got to tie break, which is always exciting. The pressure increases for both players equally, then one of them loses and today that was none other than Fucsovics.
Losing the first set in tie break, when you are so close to win it is extremely damaging mentally. It's possible that this was the reason why the second set was totally different from the first one. Fuchovics didn't seem upset, but his game wasn't the same anymore.
He had one shot that worth a million. There was a ball that he could not reach normally, so he ran towards the ball turning his back to the net, hit the ball backwards, without having any idea where it's going to land and managed to score the point. Eurosport has these video compilations made of the best or the most interesting shots. Well, this was a shot that worth selecting in those videos for sure.
Bublik is starting to grow in my eyes. He had 8 aces in this game, while the Hungarian player has only 2. He was very professional today and even though I was hoping for a different outcome, I'm glad we're going to see him soon in another good match.
Yoshihito Nishioka vs Marcos Giron (7-6) (4-6) Walkover
This is worrying and disappointing in the same time. Yoshihito Nishioka is an important player and was 2rd seed, yet the match was a walkover. In cases like this the victory has less value and some players are very vocal when others win by walkover. Regardless of how they feel, this is part of the game, accidents and medical problems happen all the time and no one is responsible. Better a walkover, than making an injury worse. Let's hope he's going to be ok.
Alex de Minaur vs Jaume Munar
At the time of writing, the match is ongoing, so I will know the result after I publish the post, but so far so good in a certain way. The first set was won by the Spanish Munar to (4-6) and it wasn't difficult. The Australian de Minaur was struggling most of the times. He is out of rhythm and he made 4 double faults already. I've seen him playing before and he's not the same guy who I've seen before, i can tell you that, or his opponent is tougher than he expected. The Spanish is more technical, seems to have more strength at the moment.
The second set is ongoing now, Munar is leading to (2 - 4) and de Minaur looks more and more lost and exhausted. I thing Munar is going to win, but who knows.
The board for tomorrow looks very interesting. A lot of good matches are announced. Humbert - Karatsev, Chardy - Evans, Isner - Kecmaniovic, but the most important for me are the following Harris - Dimitrov, Pella - Sinner and Aliassime - Ruud. These are the newest kids on the block and the most dangerous. I'm happy to see the South African Harris as he missed the last tournament, had to withdraw due to an injury. He has a lot of potential and deserves to be among the best. The same goes for Sinner.
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