Fixture: (2) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs (14) Alex de Minaur
Date: 22 April 2021
Tournament: Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 2021
Round: Third round (Round of 16)
Venue: Barcelona, Spain
Category: ATP 500
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: €1,565,480
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | UK - Amazon Prime Video
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Alex de Minaur preview
Stefanos Tsitsipas is looking to win an ATP 500 tournament for the first time in his career this week. And the next hurdle for the World No. 5 is 14th seed Alex de Minaur, as the two are slated to meet in the third round of the Barcelona Open on Thursday.
After a disastrous Miami campaign a couple of weeks ago, Tsitsipas struck a rich vein of form at the Monte Carlo Masters. The Greek beat quality opponents like Andrey Rublev, Dan Evans, Aslan Karatsev, Cristian Garin and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina en route to his maiden Masters 1000 title.
Starting off his Barcelona campaign against Jaume Munar on Wednesday, Stefanos Tsitsipas was again in the zone as he bagelled the Spaniard in the first set. Tsitsipas won 58% of his total return points and dropped only two games overall to set up a meeting with Alex de Minaur.
De Minaur on his part started his 2021 season in fine fashion, winning the title in Antalya. But he has been in a mini-slump ever since, and to make matters worse he doesn't have much experience of playing on clay.
De Minaur had lost 10 of his previous 13 tour matches on dirt before arriving in Barcelona. But the Aussie looked strong in his first-round encounter against Alexander Bublik, winning in straight sets to advance to the Round of 16.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Alex de Minaur head-to-head
Stefanos Tsitsipas leads Alex de Minaur by a margin of 4-0 in the head-to-head. All of Tsitsipas' wins over the Aussie have come on hardcourts, meaning that the Round-of-16 match in Barcelona will be their first meeting on clay.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Alex de Minaur prediction
Stefanos Tsitsipas has played some entertaining tennis over the last week, replete with impeccable footwork and aggressive ball-striking. He won the coveted title in Monte Carlo without dropping a set, and would be keen to continue in the same vein at Barcelona.
The Greek has been particularly efficient with his return, simply knocking the ball back off the first serve but striking deep and big off the second.
Alex de Minaur's playing style, meanwhile, is much more suited to faster courts, as he struggles to create his own pace in rallies. Having said that, De Minaur can cover the court like a puma, which can keep him in the contest on a brutal surface like clay.
De Minaur's workman-like forehand is not easy for opponents to break down either. Tsitsipas will have to be on his toes at all times during the encounter on Thursday, but he is likely to go through owing to his superior claycourt skills.
Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in straight sets.