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Tsitsipas Stefanos battles past Alexander Zverev to reach French

Tsitsipas Stefanos  battles past Alexander Zverev to reach French
Zverev


Tsitsipas reaches first Grand Slam final Fri, 11 Jun 2021 17:00:00 +0100-Stefanos Tsitsipas faltered but refused to crumble as he battled past Alexander Zverev in five sets and into his first grand slam final. The Greek, who has won …

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Stefanos Tsitsipas battles past Alexander Zverev to reach French Open final

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Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed an emotional victory

Stefanos Tsitsipas faltered but refused to crumble as he battled past Alexander Zverev in five sets and into his first grand slam final.

The Greek, who has won more matches than any other player in 2021, has looked like a man on a mission all fortnight at Roland Garros and he appeared to be easing to victory when he opened up a two-set lead.

But Zverev seized the momentum and turned the tables completely, winning the third and fourth sets as he threatened a repeat of last year’s US Open semi-final, when he came from two sets down to beat Pablo Carreno Busta.

Tsitsipas was 0-40 down in the opening game of the deciding set but he dug deep to hold and that proved the catalyst for a revival and a 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 victory.

Zverev saved four match points at 5-2 in the fifth, three with big serves and one with the bravest of drop shots, but Tsitsipas kept his nerve brilliantly to serve it out, holding his arms aloft in delight and relief.

The 22-year-old, the first Greek player to reach a slam final, said through tears as the crowd roared in support: “All I can think of is my roots, where I came from outside Athens. My dream was to play here. My dream was to play on the big stage of the French Open one day.

“It was nerve-racking, it was so intense. Fifth set, first game, I think it was the most important game of the fifth set. I came back, I stayed alive. I had the crowd with me. They were cheering me on, they were giving me their energy.

“I still felt there was hope. I still felt there were opportunities for me to fight back and do something. Your only job is to go out there and fight, and that’s what I did.

“It was very difficult, very emotional. I went through a lot of phases of emotional breakdowns but this win means a lot. This win is the most important one of my career so far.”

Tsitsipas had fallen three times in slam semi-finals, first at the Australian Open in 2019 then at last year’s French Open and February’s Australian Open.

He pushed Novak Djokovic to five sets at Roland Garros in October and, after winning a maiden Masters title on clay in Monte-Carlo, went into this tournament as a clear third favourite behind the world number one and Rafael Nadal.

He also boasted a 5-2 winning record over Zverev but the German has been in good form on the clay as well and, after recovering from two sets down in his opening match in Paris against Oscar Otte, had coasted through the draw.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas saw a two-set lead slip away but recovered to clinch victory (Christophe Ena/AP)

This was a massive opportunity for both men and there was a huge amount of tension on display, with Tsitsipas winning the opening set despite hitting only one winner compared to 11 unforced errors.

This was an astute rather than spectacular performance from the 22-year-old, who exploited Zverev’s weaknesses and stopped him stepping into the court on his favoured backhand.

Tsitsipas won six games in a row from 3-0 down in the second set but his relative passivity came back to haunt him as Zverev began to cut out the errors and take control.

The German had a furious row with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein over the official’s decision not to replay a point following a corrected line call at 5-3 but did not allow that to distract him.

Tsitsipas’ nerves were all too evident in the fourth set, the fifth seed unable to swing freely while Zverev was now looking very at home on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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Alexander Zverev argued with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein (Christophe Ena/AP)

But Tsitsipas managed to step up his aggression just when the match seemed to be getting away from him, and clinched victory after three hours and 37 minutes.

He is the youngest man to reach a slam final since Andy Murray at the Australian Open 11 years ago and the youngest at Roland Garros since Nadal in 2008.

Zverev took no solace in his comeback, saying: “I’m not at a stage any more where great matches are something that I’m satisfied with.

“Today nothing. I lost. I’m not in the final. Was it a good match? Yes. But at the end of the day I’m going to fly home tomorrow. There’s nothing positive about that.”

 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed an emotional victory

Stefanos Tsitsipas faltered but refused to crumble as he battled past Alexander Zverev in five sets and into his first grand slam final.

The Greek, who has won more matches than any other player in 2021, has looked like a man on a mission all fortnight at Roland Garros and he appeared to be easing to victory when he opened up a two-set lead.

But Zverev seized the momentum and turned the tables completely, winning the third and fourth sets as he threatened a repeat of last year’s US Open semi-final, when he came from two sets down to beat Pablo Carreno Busta.

Tsitsipas was 0-40 down in the opening game of the deciding set but he dug deep to hold and that proved the catalyst for a revival and a 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 victory.

Zverev saved four match points at 5-2 in the fifth, three with big serves and one with the bravest of drop shots, but Tsitsipas kept his nerve brilliantly to serve it out, holding his arms aloft in delight and relief.

The 22-year-old, the first Greek player to reach a slam final, said through tears as the crowd roared in support: “All I can think of is my roots, where I came from outside Athens. My dream was to play here. My dream was to play on the big stage of the French Open one day.

“It was nerve-racking, it was so intense. Fifth set, first game, I think it was the most important game of the fifth set. I came back, I stayed alive. I had the crowd with me. They were cheering me on, they were giving me their energy.

“I still felt there was hope. I still felt there were opportunities for me to fight back and do something. Your only job is to go out there and fight, and that’s what I did.

“It was very difficult, very emotional. I went through a lot of phases of emotional breakdowns but this win means a lot. This win is the most important one of my career so far.”

Tsitsipas had fallen three times in slam semi-finals, first at the Australian Open in 2019 then at last year’s French Open and February’s Australian Open.

He pushed Novak Djokovic to five sets at Roland Garros in October and, after winning a maiden Masters title on clay in Monte-Carlo, went into this tournament as a clear third favourite behind the world number one and Rafael Nadal.

He also boasted a 5-2 winning record over Zverev but the German has been in good form on the clay as well and, after recovering from two sets down in his opening match in Paris against Oscar Otte, had coasted through the draw.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas saw a two-set lead slip away but recovered to clinch victory (Christophe Ena/AP)

This was a massive opportunity for both men and there was a huge amount of tension on display, with Tsitsipas winning the opening set despite hitting only one winner compared to 11 unforced errors.

This was an astute rather than spectacular performance from the 22-year-old, who exploited Zverev’s weaknesses and stopped him stepping into the court on his favoured backhand.

Tsitsipas won six games in a row from 3-0 down in the second set but his relative passivity came back to haunt him as Zverev began to cut out the errors and take control.

The German had a furious row with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein over the official’s decision not to replay a point following a corrected line call at 5-3 but did not allow that to distract him.

Tsitsipas’ nerves were all too evident in the fourth set, the fifth seed unable to swing freely while Zverev was now looking very at home on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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Alexander Zverev argued with umpire Renaud Lichtenstein (Christophe Ena/AP)

But Tsitsipas managed to step up his aggression just when the match seemed to be getting away from him, and clinched victory after three hours and 37 minutes.

He is the youngest man to reach a slam final since Andy Murray at the Australian Open 11 years ago and the youngest at Roland Garros since Nadal in 2008.

Zverev took no solace in his comeback, saying: “I’m not at a stage any more where great matches are something that I’m satisfied with.

“Today nothing. I lost. I’m not in the final. Was it a good match? Yes. But at the end of the day I’m going to fly home tomorrow. There’s nothing positive about that.”


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Stefanos Tsitsipas battles past Alexander Zverev to reach French … Fri, 11 Jun 2021 17:00:00 +0100-Stefanos Tsitsipas is the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final after holding off Alexander Zverev's fightback in a tense French Open semi-final.

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Tsitsipas reaches first Grand Slam final

Tsitsipas is the youngest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Andy Murray finished runner-up at the 2010 Australian Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final after holding off Alexander Zverev's fightback from two sets down in a tense French Open semi-final.

After losing all three of his previous Grand Slam semi-finals, fifth seed Tsitsipas won 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3.

Tsitsipas rediscovered his level in the decider, halting Zverev but missing four match points before serving out.

The 22-year-old faces Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final.

Serbian top seed Djokovic and long-time Spanish rival Nadal, who is the defending champion and looking for a 14th French Open title, meet later on Friday.

After sealing victory with an ace on his fifth match point, Tsitsipas triumphantly raised both arms in the air before sharing a warm embrace with his opponent at the net.

The Greek then sat back on his chair to contemplate what he had just achieved before being overcome by emotion at the start of his on-court interview.

After taking a few moments to compose himself, Tsitsipas said: “All I can think of is my roots, and where I came from. I came from a small place outside Athens.

“My dream was to play here, to play on the big stage of the French Open one day. I never thought I would do it.”

Tsitsipas overcomes wobble and 'intense' final set to win

Tsitsipas and Zverev have long been two of the upcoming stars in the men's game and when the 'Big Three' of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer eventually retire, this promises to develop into one of the key rivalries for the sport's major honours.

Both young men have already won the season-ending ATP Finals and Masters titles in their burgeoning careers, but are yet to land one of the four biggest prizes.

Tsitsipas is now one more win from achieving that goal after preventing Zverev recording another memorable victory from a two-set deficit.

The Greek has been the leading player on the ATP Tour this year, winning more clay-court matches than any other player and claiming titles on the surface in Monte Carlo and Lyon.

Playing smartly and confidently, but without being truly tested by Zverev, Tsitsipas eased into a two-set lead.

Tsitsipas was dominant from the baseline as a lost-looking Zverev failed to change his tactics and was drawn into errors which he could not rectify until the third set.

Suddenly the German sixth seed improved his level and tightened up his game to haul himself level.

The first game of the final-set decider proved pivotal in the eventual outcome of the match.

Tsitsipas fought off three break points to hold serve, halting Zverev's momentum and going on to earn what was the decisive break in the fourth game.

“The opening game was nerve-wracking and so intense – it was the most important game in the fifth set,” said Tsitsipas, who won in three hours and 37 minutes.

“I came back, stayed alive and had the crowd with me. They gave me energy.

“I still felt there was hope and opportunities to fight back. That's what I did.”

Zverev unable to replicate US Open fightback

Zverev warmly congratulated Tsitsipas after the Greek beat him for the sixth time in their eight meetings

Unlike Tsitsipas, Zverev had already won a Grand Slam semi-final before, going on to lose to Austria's Dominic Thiem in last year's US Open final.

To reach his first major final in New York, the German had to fight back from a two-set deficit in his last-four match against Pablo Carreno Busta and threatened to do the same again at Roland Garros.

The possibility increased when he won the third and fourth sets courtesy of solitary early breaks which he backed up with solid serving.

For a player of such a young age, Zverev had already played a remarkable 23 five-set matches in his career. Winning 16 of those deciders showed he had the mental strength to cope with the pressure of another.

But, after that key opening game, it was Tsitsipas who found another gear.

Zverev showed incredible composure to bat off four match points on his serve in a lengthy eighth game, but could not break in the next as he was again unable to beat a top-10 opponent at a Grand Slam on the 10th opportunity.


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– June 11, 2021
Tsitsipas Stefanos battles past Alexander Zverev to reach French
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