ATP Tour tips: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz looking good at Madrid Open
The fifth Masters 1000 event of 2023 - and third and final Masters of the season played on clay - is well underway and those who didn't fancy the even money kicking about on Carlos Alcaraz defending his Madrid title last week will probably be kicking themselves now for not lumping on. Life is sweet for 'Charly' right now, with the young Iberian looking like the absolute Guvnor on the ATP Tour. He is as short with 2/7 with Planet Sport Bet to reign in Spain once again (he was the 2022 champ of course) and win back-to-back clay titles after his recent success in Barcelona. Indeed Alcaraz has lost just twice in 29 matches so far in 2023, and as a result is a piping hot favourite for the French Open, which begins in just a few weeks. It does not hurt his chances at Roland Garros that the greatest clay player of all-time - Rafael Nadal - has endured a horrendous time of it recently with injury. Spain's Raging Bull has not played a match since January but is hoping to be ready in time for the French Open and any clash between Rafa and Alcaraz on the Parisian dirt would be one to savour.
As it stands Alcaraz looks like the man to beat in Madrid after cruising to a routine 6-1 6-2 victory over Alexander Zverev in the fourth round on Tuesday and then followed that up with victory over Karen Khachanov to reach the business end of this tournament. His path to glory got a bit less complicated on Tuesday when second seed Daniil Medvedev was rolled 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 by qualifier Aslan Karatsev. It was a nearly flawless performance by Karatse to be fair, but the headlines were all about Medvedev, who complained about the crowd during his defeat, flouncing back to his chair five points into the first-set tie-break - which he ended up losing - due to the crowd booing. The pair had previous too. Indeed the last time Medvedev met Karatsev on clay Daniil lost his head completely and uttered the immortal line "Gerry (ATP Supervisor) please default me, I don't want to be here." As outbursts go that was right up there with Graham Taylor's "Do I not like that?" and Johnny Mac bellowing "You can't be serious, man. You CANNOT be serious" at Wimbledon in 1981.
Yet if Medvedev puts the 'p' in petulance, then Alcaraz is the very definition of excitement. A swashbuckling, high-energy player who never knows when he is beaten, he looks like the winner all the way this week and is an eye-watering 1/16 jolly to beat Borna Coric on Friday.
There's no value in that price but it could be worth backing Stefanos Tsitsipas' match against Jan-Lennard Struff to go the distance. Tsitsipas leads Struff 3-2 in the head-to-head.
He won their previous encounter - a feisty affair at the 2020 Vienna Open - in three sets, and four of their five previous matches have gone to a deciding set.
Over 2.5 set is a 15/8 poke with Planet Sport Bet and looks a decent bet given their previous.
By the way, Alcaraz turns 20 on Friday. I honestly cannot remember whether I won a Masters 1000 event on or before my twentieth, but I do remember an unsavoury incident involving alcohol, a traffic warden and a mixed doner kebab in York around that time.
Suggested bet for the Madrid Open quarter-final
Tsitsipas v Struff Over 2.5 sets at 15/8
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