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Zverev, Musetti round out blockbuster round of 16 lineup at Madrid Masters

Alexander Zverev and Lorenzo Musetti joined Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray in the Madrid third round by winning on Wednesday. Zverev vs. Musetti will be part of a mouth-watering Thursday schedule.

Alexander Zverev Germany’s Alexander Zverev in action during his third round match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta |(AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Mutua Madrid Open | Draw | Order of play

Alexander Zverev and Lorenzi Musetti booked their spots alongside each other in round three of the Mutua Madrid Open with victories on Wednesday. Zverev overcame Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 before Musetti cruised past Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-1.

Cilic took the first set against the second-seeded German and had a break point to get back on serve in the second with Zverev serving at 5-4. The two-time Madrid champion saved it with a winner off the net cord and held for 5-5 before taking the next two games to clinch victory.

Zverev and Musetti will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Thursday.

Two of the late winners on Wednesday were Grigor Dimitrov and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Dimitrov made surprisingly quick 6-0, 6-3 work of Diego Schwartzman before Tsitsipas capped off the night session on Court Manolo Santana by beating Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-4. Tsitsipas and Dimitrov will be going head-to-head for the fifth time on Thursday; the Greek has taken three of their four previous meetings.

Murray vs Djokovic, Sinner vs Auger-Aliassime also on the schedule

In a loaded top half of the bracket, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will be squaring off for the 36th time in their careers. Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 25-11. They have not faced each other in more than five years, as their last encounter came in the 2017 Doha final — won by Djokovic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. This is a rematch of the 2016 Madrid championship match, also won by the Serb 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Elsewhere in the top half of the draw, Rafael Nadal may have an even more difficult road to the final. The five-time Madrid champion already defeated Miomir Kecmanovic and now he will go up against David Goffin before possibly running into Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals and Djokovic in the semis. It will be Nadal-Alcaraz on Friday if they both win their third-round matches.

Alcaraz, who will face Cameron Norrie on Thursday, won’t get caught looking ahead.

“It would be great,” the 18-year-old said of an all-Spanish showdown in front of the Madrid fans. “It would be beautiful. But at the end of the day it is a Masters 1000. We have the most important players here, and we have to demonstrate a really good level, both Rafa and myself.”

Other third-round matchups are Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Jannik Sinner, Andrey Rublev vs. Dan Evans, and Hubert Hurkacz vs. Dusan Lajovic.

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