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Preview: Thiago Seyboth Wild vs. Carlos Alcaraz - prediction, form, tournament so far

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Madrid Open third-round match between Thiago Seyboth Wild and Carlos Alcaraz, including predictions, form and their tournament so far.

Both yet to drop a set at the 2024 Madrid Open, something must give in Sunday's third-round battle between Thiago Seyboth Wild and reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz.

The Brazilian has overcome Roman Safiullin and Lorenzo Musetti en route to the last 32, while his Iberian foe made extremely light work of Alexander Shevchenko in his opening battle.

Match preview

Thiago Seyboth Wild in action at the Australian Open on January 15, 2024© Reuters

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Safiullin and 28th seed Musetti are no pushovers by any stretch of the imagination, but Seyboth Wild - enjoying a breakthrough year on the ATP Tour - emerged from both contests relatively unscathed to break new ground in Madrid.

In a repeat of the boys final from the 2018 US Open, Seyboth Wild strode past Musetti 6-4 6-4 - an identical scoreline to his beating of Safiullin - to make the third round of a Masters tournament for the third time in a row, having also progressed that far in Indian Wells and Miami.

The 24-year-old is yet to advance further at ATP 1000 level, but he entered the Madrid week with a career-high ranking of 63 next to his name and dug deep defensively when it mattered most against Musetti, saving all four break points that the Italian brought up.

Seyboth Wild also lost just six of 37 points behind his first serve and hit more than double the amount of winners his Italian foe managed - 29 compared to 14 - and despite double-faulting on his first match point, the South American made no mistake on his second bite at the cherry.

Beginning the 2024 season without a single Masters triumph to his name, Seyboth Wild - who also entered the main draw of an ATP 1000 event without going through qualifying for the first time this month - now has five such successes to his name, and his only ATP Tour crown to date came on the clay in the 2020 Chile Open.

Carlos Alcaraz in action at the Madrid Open on April 26, 2024© Reuters

As praiseworthy as the Brazilian's recent rise has been, his feats will pale into insignificance when he squares up to current Madrid Open holder Alcaraz, whose opening tie against Kazakhstan's Shevchenko could only be described as a dismantling.

Just 68 minutes had passed by the time that the Spaniard recorded a 6-1 6-2 triumph against his beleaguered foe, who surprisingly managed to break Alcaraz in both sets, but his short-lived fightbacks only delayed the 20-year-old's anticipated progression into the the third round.

While Shevchenko impressively earned two breaks against the current champion, he lost serve seven times himself as Alcaraz ran riot with his venomous cross-court backhands, and of course, the delicate drop shot made an appearance as he won 11 of his 12 points at the net.

After having to pull out of the Barcelona Open with a forearm injury, there were no signs of physical discomfort for the second seed either, and his winning streak at the Madrid Open now stands at 12 matches as he bids to become the first man to win the accolade three years running.

However, should Seyboth Wild manage to defy the odds and extinguish Alcaraz's hopes of a Madrid treble, one of two seeds in Ugo Humbert (13th) and Jan-Lennard Struff (23rd) will be awaiting the improving South American in round four.

Tournament so far

Thiago Seyboth Wild:

First round: vs. Roman Safiullin 6-4 6-4
Second round: vs. Lorenzo Musetti 6-4 6-4

Carlos Alcaraz:

Second round: vs. Alexander Shevchenko 6-2 6-1

Head To Head

Sunday's third-round showdown will represent the maiden top-level meeting between Seyboth Wild and Alcaraz, who both hit right-handed with a two-handed backhand, and the Brazilian stands two centimetres taller than the two-time defending champion at 6ft 1in.

However, despite having four years on his 20-year-old foe, Seyboth Wild trails Alcaraz significantly on the experience metric, only competing in 55 top-level matches to date compared to Alcaraz's 218 contests.

The Brazilian's win rate of 41.8% is also far inferior to Alcaraz's 78.4%, and the latter has triumphed in 16 of his 20 contests on the ATP Tour in 2024, compared to Seyboth Wild's 10 successes from 21 matches.

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We say: Alcaraz to win in two sets

While Alcaraz affirmed after his decimation of Shevchenko that his forearm is not giving him any grief, he conceded that he is still holding back on his forehand, offering Seyboth Wild a glimmer of hope of pulling off a Madrid giant killing.

However, the Spaniard still worked his ferocious backhands and drop shots to brilliant effect against Shevchenko, and while the world number 63 may put up more of a fight, Alcaraz should extend his Madrid winning streak without too much difficulty.

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