Tsitsipas Makes Monte-Carlo Breakthrough
Stefanos Tsitsipas achieved his best result at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Thursday when he overcame Santiago champion Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first quarter-final in the Principality.
Tsitsipas fired 17 forehand winners and won 75 per cent of his net points (15/20) to reach the last eight in one hour and 40 minutes. The fourth seed, who is chasing his first title of the season, improved to 19-5 in 2021 with his second win in as many ATP Head2Head meetings against Garin. Only Andrey Rublev has claimed more wins this year (21).
“It was a really difficult task to complete. Cristian played good tennis and gave me a hard time out on the court,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match interview. “I stayed composed and focused throughout the entire match.
“Things seemed not to be going my way towards the end of the second set, but I stepped back and left my mark. Things worked out well. I was fighting [and] I was putting my best performance out there. I was creating a lot of opportunities with my forehand and I think my serve paid off pretty well.”
Tsitsipas has now reached the quarter-finals or better at all three clay-court ATP Masters 1000 events. The Greek achieved his best Masters 1000 results on clay in 2019, when he reached the Mutua Madrid Open championship match (l. to Djokovic) and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals (l. to Nadal).
The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion will face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a place in the semi-finals. The Spaniard continued his fine run in Monte-Carlo with a 6-2, 7-6(2) win against French wild card Lucas Pouille. Tsitsipas and Davidovich Fokina have not previously met at tour-level.
“[Alejandro] is someone who is just rising, he is young and has been playing good tennis,” Tsitsipas said. “I don’t know him very well, but he is a Spaniard. I feel like he has played on clay before, plenty of matches. He knows the surface pretty well, so he is going to be a challenge for me.”
The first set was decided by a marathon 15-minute game at 4-3. Tsitsipas returned with depth, attacked Garin’s forehand and finished points at the net to make the crucial breakthrough.
The 22-year-old carried his momentum into the second set to gain an immediate break. Tsitsipas extracted multiple backhand errors from Garin to take an early lead and, after trading breaks late in the set, he converted his first match point with a powerful overhead at the net.
Garin was attempting to reach his second Masters 1000 quarter-final. The 2019 Rolex Paris Masters quarter-finalist defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime and John Millman in straight sets to reach the third round at the Monte-Carlo Country Club on his tournament debut.
Did You Know?
Tsitsipas has reached the quarter-finals or better at six consecutive events, dating back to his semi-final run at the Australian Open in February.