Favourites Zverev, Tsitsipas Exit ATP Indian Wells Masters

Alexander Zverev of Germany returns a shot to Taylor Fritz during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on October 15, 2021, in Indian Wells, California. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev and French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas slumped to shock quarter-final exits in the ATP Indian Wells Masters, losing in three sets at the main stadium on Friday.

American Taylor Fritz survived two match points to come from behind and eliminate third-seeded Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) while second-seeded Tsitsipas was shown the door 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 shortly after by world number 36 Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The exits of Zverev and Tsitsipas means Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who is seeded 21st, is the top seed left in the final four.

The semi-finals are now set with 31st seeded Fritz facing Basilashvili and Norrie going up against 23rd seeded Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in Sunday’s championship match at the Tennis Garden in the California desert.

Germany’s Zverev jumped out to a big lead in the final set and appeared to be heading to victory before he started to struggle mightily on his second serve.

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“This one hurts because I knew that after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favourite to win this tournament,” said Zverev. “But my tennis wasn’t there.”

He blasted a 135 mph ace to get to match point but then immediately double-faulted and Fritz won the next point to take the game and cut the lead to 5-4.

Crowd favourite Fritz dominated the third-set tiebreaker clinching the match with a cross-court forehand winner.

“I put myself in a situation to get back into it and I did,” said Fritz, of San Diego. “I just kept fighting and went after my shots and kept playing my game.”

This was just the second loss for Zverev since losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon. Zverev is 20-2 over that stretch.

Tsitsipas also fell in three sets to the 29th seeded Basilashvili, who recorded one of his biggest career wins.

Georgia’s Basilashvili beat Tsitsipas for the first time in three career meetings and recorded his first win over a world number three player.

He defeated Roger Federer en route to the Doha title in March when the Swiss great was playing just his second match since a 13-month injury absence.

Leading up to Indian Wells, Basilashvili said he had been working on polishing his serve.

“I am not surprised. I have been playing good tennis for a long time especially in practices,” he said. “I just didn’t have the kind of first serve. It was missing. I had big minus in my serve.

“I improved my serve a lot lately. That’s why I’m in the semis now.”

Basilashvili had never won a round in Indian Wells until this year’s tournament.

High Energy

Tsitsipas, of Greece, blasted 10 aces but made two double faults and was undone by unforced errors in the two-hour, 10-minute match in the main stadium.

Basilashvili jumped out to early leads by breaking Tsitsipas in the opening games of the first and third sets. He won four of the final five games in the third and clinched the match when Tsitsipas blasted a backhand wide.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece plays a forehand before falling to the floor against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia during their quarterfinal match on Day 12 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on October 15, 2021, in Indian Wells, California. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

 

“I was under stress. My energy level was going up and down but I am happy with the way it ended and I kept my energy level up,” said Basilashvili, the son of a Georgian national ballet dancer. “At the end, I was really tired but I was physically able to stay on the court.”

Besides saving a match point to beat Federer on the way to the title in Doha, Basilashvili also won his fifth career title in Munich in May.

After Friday’s win, Basilashvili said beating his hero Federer had been a springboard.

“My win against Roger meant a lot to me because he was my idol,” Basilashvili said. “Roger’s win was very important in my career. Beating Stefanos today was as well, a really, really important match.”

Teens Shock Defending Champ Osaka, No. 3 Tsitsipas At US Open

Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

 

Defending champion Naomi Osaka of Japan and Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas were both ousted from the US Open by 18-year-olds in epic stunners on Friday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka was shocked by Canadian left-hander Leylah Fernandez 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 after Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz upset French Open runner-up Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 0-6, 7-6 (7/5).

“Honestly the Alcaraz match gave me motivation and gave me the energy to do the same,” Fernandez said. “I saw his match and I saw the way he won and I’m like ‘I’m going to do that next now.'”

After the upset, defending champion Osaka announced she was taking a break from playing tennis.

 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during his Men’s Singles third round match on Day Five at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

“I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match,” Osaka said, wiping away tears. “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”

Osaka, who had won her prior 16 Grand Slam matches, was foiled in a bid for her third US Open crown in four years and the first back-to-back title since Serena Williams in 2014.

Alcaraz is the youngest man in the US Open fourth round since 17-year-old American Michael Chang in 1989, and at any Slam since Ukraine’s Andrei Medvedev in the 1992 French Open.

“Incredible. Incredible feeling for me,” Alcaraz said. “This victory means a lot to me. It’s the best match of my career, the best win.

“To beat Stefanos Tsitsipas is a dream come true and to win here is even more special for me.”

Osaka had a major meltdown on court during the final moments of the second set after she was unable to hold serve for the victory.

“From the very beginning, right before the match, I knew I was able to win,” Fernandez said. “Thanks to New York fans. They helped me get the win.”

Osaka, who hadn’t played since Monday thanks to a second-round walkover, took the first set in 37 minutes on her sixth ace.

But she was broken in the 12th game of the second set, an errant forehand sending her to a tie-breaker.

That began a sequence of repeated racquet smashings as she was humbled in the tie-break to force a third set.

“I wanted to stay on court a little longer,” said Fernandez, who turns 19 on Monday. “One hour was just not enough for me.”

Fernandez then hit a forehand winner to break Osaka to start the third set.

Osaka saved two break points to hold in the third game and from there both held to the finish, which came after two hours and four minutes, sending Fernandez against German 16th seed Angelique Kerber in her first Grand Slam fourth round appearance.

“It’ll be a battle,” Fernandez said. “We’re just going to have fun. I’ll put on a show like I did tonight.”

Fernandez, the daughter of an Ecuadoran father and Filipino-Canadian mother, won her first WTA title in March at Monterrey. She had never beaten so high-ranked a rival as third-rated Osaka and the same was true for Alcaraz when he sent home the men’s world number three.

 

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez celebrates after winning her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

– ‘It’s kind of bitter’ –
Alcaraz became the youngest man to beat a top-three player at the US Open since the rankings began in 1973.

World number 55 Alcaraz next faces 141st-ranked German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, who ousted Swiss Henri Laaksonen 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

Alcaraz won his first ATP title at Umag in July, becoming the tour’s youngest champion since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori in 2008 at Delray Beach.

The teen nicknamed “Next Nadal” was the crowd darling at Arthur Ashe Stadium, with roars erupting as he blasted 33 winners past Tsitsipas.

“Without this crowd, I haven’t the possibility to win the match,” Alcaraz said. “I was down at the beginning of the fourth set so thank you to the crowd for pushing me up in the fifth.”

Tsitsipas opened the final tie-break with an ace but Alcaraz jumped ahead 5-2 and 6-3 before finishing matters with a forehand winner after four hours and seven minutes of play. He collapsed on the court to celebrate.

“It’s one of those matches where you feel like you’re in control and it doesn’t go your way,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s kind of bitter.”

American Frances Tiafoe sprung an upset, ousting fifth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 4-6, 6-1 in a late-night encounter.

Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev, the 2019 US Open and 2021 Australian Open runner-up, beat Spain’s 74th-ranked Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4, 6-3. He will next face British 24th seed Daniel Evans.

Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus also advanced with ease, beating American Danielle Collins 6-3, 6-3.

Tsitsipas Becomes First Greek To Reach Grand Slam Final At French Open

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates after winning against Germany's Alexander Zverev during their men's singles semi-final tennis match on Day 13 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 11, 2021. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP
Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates after winning against Germany’s Alexander Zverev during their men’s singles semi-final tennis match on Day 13 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on June 11, 2021. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final on Friday when he defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev in a bruising five-setter at the French Open.

Fifth-seeded Tsitsipas won 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 and will face either 13-time champion Rafael Nadal or world number one Novak Djokovic in the championship match.

However, the 22-year-old will have his work cut out on Sunday — he is 2-7 against Nadal and 2-5 playing Djokovic.

“All I can think of is my roots, a small place outside Athens where I dreamed to play on the big stage at the French Open,” said a tearful Tsitsipas on making his first final at the majors, secured on a fifth match point.

“It was nerve-wracking, so intense, I stayed alive. I went out there and fought. This win means a lot, it’s the most important one of my career so far.”

Tsitsipas took a 5-2 career lead over Zverev into the semi-final and he was the first to pounce with the only break of the opening set in the second game.

The rock-solid Greek didn’t give up a single break point although in an indication of the fine margins, Tsitsipas only hit one winner.

Zverev, bidding to become the first German man since Michael Stich in 1996 to reach the final in Paris, raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set.

However, Tsitsipas’ greater composure saw him rack up six consecutive games to move two sets ahead.

The Greek had come into the semi-final certainly sharper having seen off three seeded players to get this far.

Zverev had needed five sets to beat his 152nd-ranked compatriot Oscar Otte in the first round and hadn’t faced a player inside the top 45 before Friday.

But Zverev carved a break in the third game of the third set and this time backed it up despite a lengthy, foul-mouthed rant at the umpire over a disputed line call.

The 24-year-old German, now fired up, broke in the opening game of the fourth set and levelled the semi-final in the 10th game on the back of a brutal 27-shot rally.

Tsitsipas, playing in his third consecutive semi-final at the majors, crucially saved three break points in the first game of the decider.

He made the most of the escape, breaking the German for 3-1 and quickly securing the advantage for 4-1.

In a 10-minute eighth game, Zverev saved four match points, the second of which with a drop shot, the third with an ace.

However, Tsitsipas held his nerve and claimed victory after over three and a half hours on court with his eighth ace of the match.

Tsitsipas Upset Ends Nadal’s Record Title Bid At Australian Open

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas (R) shakes hands with Spain’s Rafael Nadal after their men’s singles quarter-final match on day ten of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 17, 2021. PHOTO: DAVID GRAY / AFP

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas ended Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam record bid in five gripping sets on Wednesday as home hopes were dashed when top-ranked Ashleigh Barty was knocked out in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Greece’s Tsitsipas looked down and out after losing the first two sets but after edging the third he was a different player, taking the upper hand over a subdued Nadal to win 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-5.

Tsitsipas, 22, stunned Roger Federer in the 2019 last 16 before being halted by Nadal in the semis, but he turned the tables to set up a last-four meeting with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.

READ ALSO: Champions League: Barcelona Suffer Shock Defeat To PSG

Underlining the scale of the upset, it was only the second time Nadal has lost a Grand Slam five-setter from two sets to love after his defeat to Fabio Fognini at the 2015 US Open.

“I don’t know what happened after the third set — I fly like a little bird, everything was working for me,” the fifth seed said.

“The emotions at the end were indescribable, they were something else.”

The defeat will sting for Nadal, who was drawing closer to a 21st major title and sole ownership of the all-time men’s record he currently shares with the injury-sidelined Federer.

Tsitsipas’s reward is a meeting on Friday with Medvedev, his third Grand Slam semi, with top-ranked Novak Djokovic or Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev waiting in Sunday’s final.

The classic encounter played out in front of 15,000 empty seats at Rod Laver Arena, with fake crowd noises added to the TV broadcast, on the last day of a snap, state-wide coronavirus lockdown.

Up to 7,477 fans — about half capacity — will be allowed at the centre court from Thursday after Victoria’s state government eased the restrictions.

However, fans will no longer be able to see Barty, the world number one whose dreams of ending Australia’s 43-year wait for a domestic winner were dashed by the unlikely figure of Karolina Muchova.

 

– ‘My head was spinning’ –

In hot conditions, Barty raced through the first set but Muchova dominated after a medical timeout for dizziness, winning 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final as the Australian crumbled.

“I was a bit lost on the court and my head was spinning so I took a break,” said Muchova, while Barty, a semi-finalist last year, called her latest near-miss “heartbreaking”.

But the top seed added: “Will it deter me, will it ruin the fact we’ve had a really successful start to our season? Absolutely not.”

Muchova will face Jennifer Brady in the last four after the 22nd seed beat her fellow American and close friend Jessica Pegula 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Brady’s achievement is notable, as she is the last woman standing among those who served a hard 14-day quarantine after arriving in Australia — unlike other players, who were allowed out of their hotels for five hours a day to train.

“I felt the pressure from her. She’s such an aggressive player,” said Brady, who also reached the semis at last year’s US Open.

“I was looking to push her back and get more on offense. I think I played a really good third set.”

Medvedev and Andrey Rublev were both unbeaten this year but their all-Russian quarter-final was disappointing.

Medvedev, older and higher-ranked, took control after a tight first set, winning 7-5, 6-3, 6-2 as his rival struggled in the intense afternoon heat.

“We had some unbelievable rallies and after the point it’s tough to breathe,” said Medvedev, the 25-year-old world number four.

“I think I’m one of the first players to make Andrey that tired on the court so I’m quite happy.”

Defending champion Djokovic plays Karatsev in Thursday’s men’s semi-final, while Muchova faces Brady and Serena Williams plays Naomi Osaka in the women’s last four.

AFP

Djokovic Beats Tsitsipas In Dubai To Win 79th Career Title

Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the victor’s trophy after winning the final of the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championship in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on February 29, 2020. KARIM SAHIB / AFP

 

 

Novak Djokovic captured his 79th career title on Saturday when he won the Dubai Championships for the fifth time, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

The world number one is now on an 18-0 winning run this season, and 21-0 overall since late 2019, as he ended an eight-match win streak for his Greek opponent, champion last weekend in Marseille.

Djokovic claimed his third trophy of 2020 after helping Serbia to the ATP Cup and winning an eighth Australian Open.

It is also the seventh time that the 32-year-old has won more than 20 matches on the trot.

Tsitsipas lost his second straight final in Dubai after going down to Roger Federer a year ago.

“It was close in both sets,” Djokovic said. “A few points decided it, I’ve had a great week.

“I’m most proud of my consistency this week, especially on shots from the baseline.”

The top seed produced a straightforward win in 79 minutes after a close-call semi-final where he saved three match points against Gael Monfils.

“I was just a point from going out, I might not have been here,” the winner said. “But it shows how quickly things can turn.

“I appreciate the moment, I’ve really played well in my matches this week. There were some ups and downs, but that’s normal.”

Djokovic broke for 5-3 in the opening set and served it out moments later.

The second set was slightly tighter, with the Serbian losing a break as Tsitsipas levelled at 3-all.

But Djokovic came through again with a break for 5-4 as his opponent hit the net.

A game later, Djokovic was lifting another trophy as he found the corner with a winner.

“Tsitsipas is a player for now, much more than for the future,” Djokovic said of his sixth-ranked opponent.

“He’s already been very successful. He’s more than just a great player, he’s very charismatic and brings a lot to the game.”

Djokovic added: “I’ve had a great start to the season, I love playing on hard courts. They’ve been my most successful surface so far.”

Djokovic will stay number one on the ATP rankings on Monday to start a 280th week atop the table.

He was playing the final in Dubai for a sixth time in 11 appearances. It was, however, his first final at the tournament since 2015 when he lost to Federer.

Coming into the championship match, the 21-year-old Greek had lost just one set this week.

Djokovic was also awarded a ‘golden visa’ by the Dubai government and has agreed to return to defend his title in 2021.

AFP

Tsitsipas Beats Thiem To Claim ATP Finals Title

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas poses with the winner's trophy after winning the men's singles final match on day eight of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 17, 2019.
Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas poses with the winner’s trophy after winning the men’s singles final match on day eight of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 17, 2019.

 

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas battled back from a set down against Dominic Thiem to win the ATP Finals title on Sunday, emphatically staking his claim as the leader of the next generation of aspiring global superstars.

The Greek 21-year-old, who won, 6-7 (6/8), 6-2, 7-6 (7/4)  is the youngest champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001 and the fourth first-time champion at the season-ending event in as many years.

It is Tsitsipas’s third title of the season and comes a year after he was crowned champion at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

He has charmed the crowd at London’s O2 Arena all week and earned his place in the final with an impressive straight-sets win against six-time champion Roger Federer.

“I can’t sum up my emotions right now,” said Tsitsipas. “It’s amazing to be remembered as the 2019 champion. It is a dream come true and the best way to end this match.

“I did get nervous at some points in the match but I managed to forget about how I felt and I had momentum in the tie-break which was really tight.

“My fighting spirit and me constantly trying to push myself to do better got me there in the end.”

Defeat is a bitter disappointment for Thiem, who won five titles this year, including the Indian Wells Masters, and reached a second successive French Open final.

There was little to choose between sixth-seed Tsitsipas and Austria’s world number five Thiem in the first set as a total of five break points went begging.

Both players had impressed on serve during the tournament, with Tsitsipas’s figures especially striking — 44 service games won out of 47 leading into the final.

In an inevitable tie-break Tsitsipas saved a set point at 5/6 but Thiem clinched his second set point with a powerful serve that the Greek returned into the net.

Tsitsipas breaks

But Tsitsipas regrouped and within minutes Thiem, who beat his opponent in three sets in the Beijing final last month, was under pressure, spraying a forehand wide to concede first break of the match.

Tsitsipas held with ease and then produced a forehand down the line to break again, with Thiem threatening to unravel. Tsitsipas had won 12 out of 14 points in the set.

Thiem, who like Tsitsipas plays with a single-handed backhand, stemmed the tide but could make little impression on his opponent’s serve and lost the set 6-2.

Thiem was rocking again at the start of the deciding set. He saved two break points in the first game but looked increasingly shaky and was broken to trail 1-2.

The Greek was now well on top but out of nowhere Thiem was level at 3-3 after Tsitsipas put a backhand wide.

The Austrian was now playing with much more confidence, unleashing a series of blistering winners and edged ahead 5-4 after another service hold but the rest of the set went with serve.

In the deciding set tie-break Tsitsipas took a 4-2 lead but was pegged back to 4/4.

But on the next point Tsitsipas earned a mini-break, giving him the chance to serve out for the match and he made no mistake, closing out the biggest victory of his career.

Tsitsipas has competition among his peers as the new generation attempt to dislodge Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who have dominated the men’s game for the past 15 years.

World number four Daniil Medvedev won two Masters titles this year and reached the US Open final while Alexander Zverev was in London defending the title he won last year.

But Tsitsipas, who has beaten every member of the “Big Three” in 2019, will go into the new season with the belief he can take the next step towards the apex of the men’s game.

 

AFP

Nadal Sweats To Beat Tsitsipas

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates victory against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas during their men’s singles round-robin match on day six of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 15, 2019. 
Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal recovered to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-5 on Friday but faces an anxious wait to find out whether he will qualify for the last four at the ATP Finals.

The Spanish top seed is pinning his hopes on Daniil Medvedev beating defending champion Alexander Zverev in the evening match in Group Andre Agassi in London.

Nadal, who has already secured the year-end number one ranking, has never won the end-of-season tournament and had a miserable start at the O2 Arena, being outplayed by Germany’s Zverev.

But the 19-time Grand Slam champion produced an astonishing comeback to defeat Medvedev, the Russian fourth seed, on Wednesday and give himself a chance of qualifying from the round-robin phase.

READ ALSO: Federer Outclasses Djokovic To Reach ATP Finals Semis

Tsitsipas, 21, had already qualified for the semi-finals before Friday’s match after beating Medvedev and Zverev.

Serve dominated in the first set on Friday, with neither Nadal nor Tsitsipas facing a breakpoint as the match drifted inexorably towards a tie-break.

The Greek sixth seed came out on top, hammering an ace on his first match point to seal the set.

The second set followed a similar pattern until the fifth game when a Tsitsipas double-fault handed Nadal two break points — the first of the match.

The Spaniard could not capitalise but he upped the pressure in Tsitsipas’s next serve game and earned another breakpoint, which the Greek again survived.

But Nadal earned a fourth break point in Tsitsipas’s next service game and this time the Greek player slapped a regulation forehand wide and Nadal went on to level the match.

A pumped-up Nadal maintained his momentum in the early stages of the deciding set, putting consistent pressure on his opponent’s serve but he failed to convert a clutch of breakpoints.

Nadal earned two more breakpoints in the 11th game and this time made it count as Tsitsipas put a backhand wide and he served out to win the match.

Nadal’s efforts will count for nothing unless Medvedev beats Zverev in the later match at the O2 Arena. A win for the German would send Nadal home.

If Medvedev, who cannot progress, beats Zverev, Nadal would face a mouthwatering match against Roger Federer.

Six-time champion Federer, who was in Group Bjorn Borg, secured a spot in the semi-finals for the 16th time in his career on Thursday by beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem also qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals.

AFP

Nine-Time Champion Federer Reaches 15th Swiss Indoors Final

Swiss Roger Federer serves a ball against German Peter Gojowczyk during the 1,500th match of his career at the opening day of the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament on October 21, 2019 in Basel. 
FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

 

Roger Federer extended his Swiss Indoors win streak to 23 matches as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to reach the final for the 15th time, racking up his 50th win of 2019.

The top seed will be playing for his 10th title at his home tournament when he faces Alex de Minaur in a first-time meeting after the Australian stopped Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3).

Federer, 38, has now made the Basel final in his last 13 appearances and 15th overall.

His last defeat came in the 2013 final at the hands of Juan Martin del Potro.

For Federer, victory on Saturday was his second of the season over 21-year-old Tsitsipas who had stunned the 20-time major winner at the Australian Open in January.

Federer, who had a walkover in the quarter-finals due to the pre-match injury withdrawal of compatriot Stan Wawrinka, notched up two love games in the second set and advanced on his first match point.

“Having the crowd behind you really helps you believe in your game,” said Federer who had also defeated Tsitsipas in Dubai earlier this year.

“I had to play aggressive and take risks against Stefanos. There was a lot of running. But it’s always easier to play at home, I was energised.”

Federer will be in uncharted territory in the final with De Minaur, who has won trophies this season in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai.

“He’s one of the fastest players,” Federer said. “I’m very excited to be in the final again.

“I was not sure how it would go this week, so I’m really happy.”

The 28th-ranked De Minaur, who trains and lives in Spain, is the first Australian to reach the Basel final since Mark Philippoussis finished runner-up in 1997.

De Minaur, who measures up at 1.80m compared to Opelka’s towering 2.11m, set up his semi-final victory with a passing winner for four match points.

Opelka saved the first with an ace but was caught out on the second as his opponent sealed the win.

“Nothing can prepare you for that serve,” de Minaur said.

“Reilly’s an incredibly tough competitor who never gives up. I’m just happy to be in the final. I guessed right a few times and got lucky. I was just lucky to have gone the right direction, I was just hoping not be hit by any of those serves.”

AFP

Tsitsipas Battles Into 13th Quarter-Final Of 2019

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his 13th quarter-final of 2019 on Thursday when he came back to claim a 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 6-4 win over Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis at the ATP Swiss Indoors.

The Greek third seed will next face Italian fifth seed Fabio Fognini or Filip Krajinovic of Serbia for a semi-final spot.

Tsitsipas said he didn’t panic after losing the opening set to his 70th-ranked opponent in 52 minutes.

“He was giving me a hard time in the first set, it was not easy to overcome, we had a high-quality match,” said Tsitsipas, the world number seven.

“I managed to remain calm and not rush too much,” the number seven said after reaching his 13th quarter-final of 2019.

“I knew things would work out, I was able to break twice in the second set and once more in the third. I was serving well and that took some of the extra pressure away.

“Sometimes it’s tough to manage the energy. But getting angry sometimes can actually help. It can give you an extra reason to fight.”

The ATP Finals’ hopes of David Goffin stalled as the sixth seed lost to Reilly Opelka 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5, with the young American sending down 29 aces in two and a half hours.

Goffin stands provisional tenth in the race to the eight-man season wrap-up with a final points-earning chance next week at the Paris Masters.

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Tsitsipas have already booked their places in the ATP Finals, leaving just two places available.

Roberto Bautista Agut, who sits one spot away from a London invitation, stayed in the chase as he defeated France’s Richard Gasquet 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and will next play Opelka.

The Spaniard claimed his 40th victory of the season as he works to become a first-time qualifier into the season showpiece in London which starts on November 10.

AFP

Shanghai Masters: Medvedev Reaches Sixth Final

Daniil Medvedev of Russia hits a return against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their men’s singles semi-final match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on October 12, 2019. HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP

 

Daniil Medvedev reached a staggering sixth final in a row as he defeated fellow rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.

The US Open finalist from Russia plays Alexander Zverev of Germany or Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in Sunday’s decider as the next generation takes centre stage in China.

The 23-year-old Medvedev, who has lifted three titles in a breakthrough 2019, beat Greece’s Tsitsipas 7-6 (7/5), 7-5.

Medvedev has now seen off the 21-year-old — who defeated world number one Novak Djokovic on Friday — in all five of their matches.

“It’s something I could never have dreamed of,” the world number four said of his sixth final on the trot.

“I want to keep the momentum going and hopefully make it to seven or eight.”

The history was with Medvedev but there was nothing in it as he and Tsitsipas entered the first-set tie break after 43 minutes of high-quality tennis.

Seventh-ranked Tsitsipas blinked first, gifting set point when he shanked a forehand and then doing the same moments later to put the Russian a set up.

Medvedev broke the Greek — who repeatedly tried to gee up the crowd — in the third game of the second set.

The Russian served for the match at 5-4, only for Tsitsipas to dig in and break for 5-5, before Medvedev did likewise.

Tsitsipas smacked the ball out the court in a rage, before Medvedev sealed the semi-final win in the 12th game of the second set.

“Same vibes, same thing all over again,” said Tsitsipas of yet another defeat to the Russian.

“I don’t mean to be rude at all, but it’s just boring.

“It’s so boring that I hate myself for putting myself into that kind of situation where I have to play in his own terms and not in my terms.”

AFP

Tsitsipas Stuns Nadal To Set Up Madrid Final With Djokovic

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates winning a point against Spain’s Rafael Nadal during their ATP Madrid Open semi-final tennis match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 11, 2019.
OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP

 

Novak Djokovic will play Stefanos Tsitsipas for the Madrid Open title after the 20-year-old Greek stunned Rafael Nadal on Saturday to win a thrilling semi-final 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 on his fourth match point.

Nadal had been a clear favourite to face Djokovic in Sunday’s showpiece at Caja Magica but the 17-time Grand Slam champion extended his stuttering build-up to the French Open with another surprise defeat.

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Tsitsipas has now beaten Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer in his young career.

AFP

Australian Open: Sensational Tsitsipas ‘Surprises Himself’ With Semi-Final Breakthrough

 

Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas said he “surprised himself” with his fairytale Australian Open run after sweeping into the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Greek followed his stunning win over Roger Federer by accounting for Spain’s 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who in the first round had ended Andy Murray’s tournament and possibly his career.

Tsitsipas had to contend with dropping his serve early in the first three sets before coming through 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) in 3hr 15min on Rod Laver Arena.

“Roberto showed some good tennis the entire week. But at the end it’s completely different of what I can picture it before going on the court, how you can imagine your opponent is going to play,” Tsitsipas said.

“I did surprise a little bit myself with my performance.”

The exciting Tsitsipas, who sports a flowing mane of long hair, became the first Greek player to go so deep at any Grand Slam and fell to the floor, head in hands after the winning point.

“It all feels like a fairytale almost,” he said.

“I’m just living the dream, living what I’ve been working hard for.

“I was asked my goals this year and said semis Grand Slam. And when I was answering this question, I thought I was crazy. But it is real. It just happened.”

Tsitsipas, who broke through in 2018 with his first ATP Tour title and won the NextGen finals, will face either world number two Rafael Nadal or unseeded Frances Tiafoe for a place in the final.

For the 30-year-old Bautista Agut, who came into his first Slam quarter-final unbeaten in 2019 after winning in Doha, the wait for a maiden major semi-final goes on.

After encountering the gifted Greek at close quarters for the first time, he still fancies either Nadal or Novak Djokovic to lift the Norman Brookes trophy.

“He’s playing very good tennis,” the Spanish world number 24 told reporters of Tsitsipas. “But here I think Rafa and Novak are my favourites.”

No Panic

Federer did not win any of 12 break points in a four-set defeat against 14th seed Tsitsipas in round four, but Bautista Agut managed it on his first in the opening game of the match.

There was no panic from the 20-year-old from Athens and he broke back before stealing the set 7-5 with a second break created by a rasping forehand winner.

Bautista Agut went 2-1 up in the second set with another early break and it was enough to level the match score.

Down another break in the third, Tsitsipas outlasted the Spaniard in a gruelling game to level at 4-4. And when the Athenian artist secured a second, Bautista Agut sensed his hopes were slipping away

“When I lost the third set, I knew I had to do a really good effort to try to win the match,” said Bautista Agut.

“I continue fighting till the end, but it was not enough.”

The gutsy Spaniard successfully served to stay in the match for the first time at 4-5 in the fourth set.

He then showed great resilience at 5-6, 30-40 to repel a first match point after a 21-shot baseline rally.

But Tsitsipas jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the ensuing tiebreak and secured the match on the first of four more match points.