Barcelona Open Preview: Dimitrov sets Tsistipas date in the Round of 16

The Round of 16 of the ATP Barcelona Masters 500 will have a crunch encounter in line as Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsistipas takes Grigor Dimitrov in a high-voltage encounter. 

The two will lock horns for a place in the quarters as, Tsistipas, who is the No. 1 seed tries to improve on his tally to get closer to the World No.1 spot. 

Dimitrov will certainly try to put a spanner in the work, as he provides a stern challenge to the No.1 seed.

Tsitsipas vs Dimitrov: Head to Head

The two have met on three previous occasions, with Tsistipas leading the head-to-head 2-1. Tsistipas exacted revenge on Dimitrov at the Vienna Open in 2021, having lost to the same opponent in 2020. 

The only previous meeting on the clay court came at the Roland Garros in September 2020, after Covid-19 had postponed the tournament. Tsistipas beat Dimitrov in straight sets 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals in Paris that year. 

Dimitrov will have to put in shifts if he is to get the better of the Greek star with an incredible opportunity to level the head-to-head.

Player Analysis | Stefanos Tsistipas vs Grigor Dimitrov

The new master of Clay court, the 23-year-old Tsistipas has all the tools in his arsenal to outwit his opponent. 

Apart from the unmatched sliding ability on clay, Tsistipas has the forehand, well capable of putting his opponent in jeopardy. 

The Greek star only lost one set in the Monte Carlo Open triumph and with Barcelona a favourable place to exploit the condition, Tsistipas will be hoping to continue his winning run and find the perfect preparation ahead of the French Open in May.

The Monte Carlo semi-finalist has had a mix in 2022 so far, he had to labour his way to the latter stages at Monte Carlo, dropping a set every match apart from an early player retirement and a Round of 16 win against Taylor Fritz on clay court. 

The Bulgarian has won 72 per cent of first-serve points and possessed a breakpoint conversion rate of 56 per cent which makes him a tough opponent to have on a given date. 

However, the 30-year-old will have to depend upon the ground shots and net shots as Tsistipas has the edge in pace and power.

Journey in 2022

While Tsistipas was made to labour by Ilya Ivashka as he dropped a set in the 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 win. The 6ft 5 in giant is still undefeated on clay surface in 2022 and holds a 22-7 win/loss record. 

The Greek star has been knocking on the doors of a grandslam title for a while and 2022 could be the year he reaches the milestone.

On the horizon, Dimitrov has his best years behind him and hasn't won a major title since the 2017 ATP tours final in London. 

The Bulgarian will also be poised to end the drought as Tsistipas could be the perfect opponent to beat and relaunch his career. 

In 2022, the No.14 seed has a W/L record of 11-7 and lost to Alejandro Fokina in the semis of Monte Carlo. A great day at the office on Friday could be the perfect way for Dimitrov to end his title drought.

Prediction: Stefanos Tsistipas to win 6-4, 6-3

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