After playing for the title in Dubai, world no. 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas has failed to reach the quarters in the next four tournaments, losing 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to Jan-Lennard Struff in an hour and 49 minutes. The German competed on a very high level, hitting 31 winners and 20 unforced errors and saving four out of six break points despite landing only 48% of the first serve in.
Tsitsipas was far from those numbers, with more unforced errors than winners and 40% of the points dropped behind the initial shot, suffering four breaks from ten chances offered to Struff to finish this year's Barcelona journey in the third round and lose points, fighting in the title match 12 months ago.
Jan-Lennard drew first blood in the fifth game, wasting three set points on the return at 5-3 and fending off a couple of break points before securing the opener with a service winner. The second set saw eight easy holds on both sides and a break for Stefanos at 4-3 that sent the match into a decider where Struff delivered three great return games, moving over the top when Tsitsipas netted a forehand in game eight to advance into the second quarter-final of the season.
Guido Pella has made a great season even better, earning the 19th ATP win in 2019 with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph over Marrakech champion Benoit Paire in an hour and 22 minutes. Serving at 72%, Guido saved two out of three break points and Benoit couldn't follow that pace, landing only 44% of the first serve in and suffering three breaks to push Pella into the last eight.
Benoit wasted a break lead in the opener and got broken again in the 12th game after a loose drop shot that gave the set to the Argentinian. Guido sealed the deal at 5-3 in set number two when the Frenchman sprayed a backhand error, facing Dominic Thiem in the battle for the place in the semis.
A lucky loser Roberto Carballes Baena defeated Christian Garin 6-4, 7-6 in just under two hours, winning just one point more than the Chilean to prevail in straight sets. The Spaniard lost serve three times and made sure to create more damage on the return, earning 11 opportunities and converting four to find himself in the quarters.
Garin wasted two set points at 5-4 in set number two, losing the tie break 7-2 and the opportunity to send the encounter into a decider. Nicolas Jarry defeated Alexander Zverev in the deciding tie break on Wednesday and repeated the same versus the 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov to enter the first ATP quarter-final since Winston-Salem last August.
Grigor asked for a wild card, trying to change his fortune after injuries and bad results but that will have to wait for some other event, making a good start before dropping set number two with one break for Jarry in the very first game.
There were no break points in a high-quality deciding set and it was Nicolas who won the breaker 7-2 after a backhand error from the Bulgarian.