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Ricky’s picks for Monday in Madrid, including Fritz and Tsitsipas

Third-round action at the Madrid Masters continues when Taylor Fritz and Stefanos Tsitsipas take the court on Monday. They are going up against Cristian Garin and Sebastian Baez, respectively.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(8) Taylor Fritz vs. Cristian Garin

Fritz and Garin will be facing each other for the second time in their careers on Monday. Their only previous meeting came during the 2022 clay-court swing in Houston, where Garin prevailed 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3. However, much quicker conditions in Madrid and–more importantly–much more consistency in his game could turn the tide in Fritz’s favor. The world No. 10 is 26-8 in 2023 and just reached back-to-back clay-court semifinals in Monte-Carlo and Munich. Fritz has advanced to at least the quarters of seven consecutive events.

It has already been a good tournament Garin, who did not get the benefit of a bye as an unseeded player but has ousted Marc-Andrea Huesler and Miomir Kecmanovic. The world No. 73 has been in solid but unspectacular form, with recent QF performances in Houston and Munich. Garin is always tough on clay, but in these conditions a supremely confident Fritz should advance.

Pick: Fritz in 3

(25) Sebastian Baez vs. (4) Stefanos Tsitsipas

Tsitsipas had a tough draw in his first match, he managed to scrape past Dominic Thiem 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5). With that Tsitsipas still has a chance to defend his semifinal points from last year and make a return trip to the Madrid final for the first time since 2019. The fifth-ranked Greek should have a good chance to do it, as he is one of the best clay-court players in the world and started to regain his form with a runner-up effort in Barcelona.

Up next for Tsitsipas is Baez, who lost their only previous encounter 7-6(1), 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 at the Australian Open in 2022. The Argentine is generally better on clay, but so far this year he was just 6-6 at six clay-court events other than Cordoba (where he won his second-ever ATP title). Fast conditions in Madrid won’t help Baez, either.

Pick: Tsitsipas in 2

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.