The two players met previously eight times on the ATP Tour, with the more experienced Spaniard winning in five of those meetings, but their ninth clash was probably one of the most-anticipated, since it was already a second-round match at the 2023 Madrid Open.
The reason is Thiem's injury that kept him out of play for a very long time and was the main reason for his drop to 93rd place of the ATP Rankings. However, in recent weeks, the 2020 US Open champion was able to record some good wins and he was determined to 'work on his reputation' in the Spanish capital.
Tsitsipas has been also playing well recently, reaching the final in Barcelona and showing confidence ahead of the second clay-court ATP 1000 event of the season. Both were determined to show their best in the fourth match at the Manolo Santana Stadium, and they certainly succeeded in doing that as they entertained fans for full three sets.
Thiem wasn't afraid to face the fourth-seeded Greek and he mentioned it also before the match, as he emphasized that he needs matches like this on his way to coming back to the top. Therefore, it wasn't a big surprise when the Austrian started better, breaking his opponent's serve in the fourth game.
But it didn't take long before the Greek had also three break points as he could immediately break back, but Thiem didn't allow that and since he was confident on his next two service games and held them, he won the first set 6-3.
But Tsitsipas wouldn't go down without a fight and he fought exceptionally, especially when he had his first serve. The Greek started an incredible streak when he didn't miss his first serve for more than an hour and that helped him massively in a dominant second set.
Tsitsipas won 16 out of 17 points on his serve in that set and thanks to being able to cause harm on the return as well, he won the set 6-1 after breaking his opponent's serve twice.
The Greek continued his incredible first-serve streak also for the majority of the third set as his first serve percentage was reaching over 80% over the course of the match. That helped him to hold his serve comfortably, but his opponent was managing to do the same thing for the majority of the set.
The first problems came for Thiem in the crucial eleventh game of the third set. The Austrian faced five break points but saved all of them and made sure that he will get a chance to play at least a tie-break in the third set.
In the tie-break, the Greek player proved to be a bit better as he got more mini-breaks and eventually won it 7-5 to end the epic clash in three sets and reach the third round of the 2023 Madrid Open.