Fast-rising Czech will meet Auger-Aliassime in third round

Playing in his first tour-level clay-court event, #NextGenATP Czech Jakub Mensik scored a stunning upset against Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday at the Mutua Madrid Open. The 18-year-old used a powerful and fearless finish to wrap up a 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3 win and improve to 2-2 against opponents in the Top 10 of the PIF ATP Rankings.

Having beaten Andrey Rublev en route to his first tour-level final in Doha in February, Mensik is now through to the third round in Madrid. Outside the Top 300 of the PIF ATP Rankings this time last year, he is now up to No. 65 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings, setting himself up for a new career high.

"Right now I cannot describe it. I'm just speechless," said Mensik, whose parents were in the crowd. "I just wanted to play my best game ever. I know that Grigor is in super-good form, he showed in Miami, in Monte-Carlo he played good. His game style on the clay court [makes him] a really tough opponent.

"I'm super happy with me and also with my team, that we worked really hard. Another 'W', so hopefully I will continue next match."

By reaching the third round, Mensik also moved to within 11 points of Arthur Fils for first place in the PIF ATP Live Race To Jeddah. Bidding to make his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF, the Czech can pass the Frenchman by beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in his next match. The Canadian advanced to the third round with a Saturday evening upset of his own: a 6-0, 6-4 victory against 19th seed Adrian Mannarino.

Mensik rattled off five straight games from 1-2 to secure the opening set against the ninth-seeded Dimitrov, then fought off three set points late in set two before falling in a tie-break. After a trade of breaks early in the deciding set, Mensik won four of the final five games to seal the statement win.

"Third set I just wanted to play my best performance and it happened, so I'm really happy," said Mensik, who saved seven of eight break points against him according to Infosys ATP Stats.

In two other Saturday evening three-setters, 17th seed Alexander Bublik beat Roberto Carballes Baena 1-6, 6-2, 6-2  and 16th seed Karen Khachanov defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Meanwhile, Ben Shelton wasted no time in booking his third-round place with a 6-0, 6-2 win against Tomas Machac in the pair's first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.