It was a rough day for three of the best players in the world Thursday as Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev were all defeated at the Mutua Madrid Open.
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal, No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem and fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev all won in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals.
Chile's Cristian Garin upset second-seeded Russian Medvedev 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-1 in 2 frac12; hours. Norway's Casper Ruud defeated fourth-seeded Tsitsipas of Greece 7-6 (4), 6-4. And American John Isner bounced the 6 seed Rublev of Russia 7-6 (4), 3-6, 7-6 (4).
Garin broke Medvedev twice in the third set to secure the biggest win of his career. Garin won 75.5 percent of his service points, connected for six aces and faced just one break point. Medvedev, meanwhile, suffered through 43 unforced errors.
Ruud secured the lone break in the second set to dispatch Tsitsipas in one hour, 34 minutes.
"The conditions are a bit different here than other clay courts with the fast shots, the ball traveling faster through the air because of the altitude. You get a lot of free points with the serve that you don't usually [get] on the clay courts. I think that also today went a bit in my advantage," Ruud said. "I felt like he was doing some mistakes that he doesn't always do. I was just trying to take care of the chances that I got."
Isner recorded 28 aces for his win over Rublev and first top 10 victory since 2019.
"I wasn't the better player out there today; I did win the match. My serve kept me in it," Isner said. "But to beat a guy like that, maybe being a little bit undercooked, is a very special moment for me."
Isner will play Thiem of Austria for the first time since 2017. Thiem, who holds a 2-1 record over Isner, defeated Australian Alex de Minaur earlier Thursday 7-6 (7), 6-4.
Nadal breezed past Australian qualifier Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-3 in one hour, 20 minutes in pursuit of his sixth Madrid Open title.
"It was difficult. The court today was slippery, it was very fast, very dry conditions. The ball was flying a lot. The beginning of the match was super tough," Nadal of Spain said.
Zverev of Germany defeated Britain's Daniel Evans 6-3, 7-6 (3) to advance.
Also, eighth-seeded Matteo Berrettini defeated Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-6 (4), 6-4 and Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan beat Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-4, 6-3.
--Field Level Media