EDITOR'S NOTE: After his win over Ivan Ivashka on Thursday, Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Grigor Dimitrov on Friday, 6-1, 6-4, and will play Carlos Alcaraz later in the day.

BARCELONA—Stefanos Tsitsipas couldn’t find his typical adrenaline when he took the court Thursday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. One could understand why, given the starts and stops he, his opponent Ivan Ivashka and the rest of the scheduled competitors endured after persistent rain prevented matches from getting on throughout the morning, afternoon and evening at the ATP 500 event.

“I felt my mind was not really in that kind of fight or flight instinct on the court,” he said late Thursday in press.

Additional elements of surprise soon came the way of Tsitsipas and Ivashka. The two were moved from Pista Rafa Nadal to Pista Jan Kodes with the goal of getting their second-round match completed if a dry window transpired. With the exception of Grigor Dimitrov, who squeezed in three games during the afternoon to complete his opening win, all other third-round players had been confirmed the day prior.

The relocation didn’t sit well with ticket holders of the main stadium court. Two points into the resumed encounter, which began around 7:30 p.m. with Tsitsipas leading 5-1, protesting fans caused play to be suspended once again.

“The rules of the tournament are that if there is 60 minutes of match play it is not obliged to return the cost of the tickets,” a statement from organizers read.


Avoiding complete chaos, the event opted to provide refunds to those impacted. Tsitsipas and Ivashka finally had their chance to compete without further disruption when crowd energy shifted to the match's unfolding.

With one other contest on court, a doubles clash that Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez would take, 13-11 in a match tiebreak over incoming Monte Carlo champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, everyone wanted their chance to simply watch tennis.

Fans packed every potential viewing point. All corners were filled, as patrons late to the seat game stood on benches to follow the action. On the stadium court, the closest bleacher staircase and top row were lined with people taking in an alternative perspective.

Ivashka fought well, breaking Tsitsipas at the end of the second set to force a decider as a rainbow lit up the sky. But unlike Ram and Salisbury, Tsitsipas, coming off a successful Monte Carlo title defense, discovered the proverbial pot of gold. Regrouping in the cold weather, the world No. 5 marched on, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2, to maintain his winning ways.

“It feels like I've been here for a week, to be honest with you,” said Tsitsipas. “It was a great relief to be out on the court and play some tennis until the fans started shouting again. But glad we were able to pull it through. Everything was created very well from my side and I was able to top it off with a good win at the end.”


Tsitsipas had mixed feelings about the protesters. Stating they “deserved to watch some tennis”, the 23-year-old was undecided on whether their actions were immature. As for the change in environment, he confessed the challenge of switching venues only added to the difficulty of the dreary day. From his vantage point, the two courts had varying speeds and he expected Ivashka to use the time from when they walked off Wednesday until their recommencement Thursday night to his advantage.

“I had no time today to warm up at all, to hit tennis balls. My first time was on court right before the match starts. It's unusual. You don't really get to be faced with those kinds of situations very often when you're on the tour,” he said.

“I was trying to stay calm, take this one at a time. There isn't much you can do, no one you can really blame for that. Weather is weather. You just have to deal with the circumstances.”

In 2021, Tsitsipas nearly backed up his Monte Carlo triumph at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899 when he held match point on Rafael Nadal in a gripping final. The lefty would prevail, 7-5 in the third, but is not here this week, needing more time to recover from a rib injury.

Tsitsipas could take on a different Spaniard in the quarterfinals, if he and Carlos Alcaraz both advance. Alcaraz has won both of their meetings, on hard courts, but should they face off, it’ll be in a double-duty situation. The third round and quarterfinals are both scheduled for Friday, weather permitting of course.