Tsitsipas Powers Past Zverev, Returns To Final
Stefanos Tsitsipas conjured up more Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters magic on Saturday to take out second seed Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and move within one win of a successful defence of his 2021 title.
The World No. 5 struck the ball cleanly throughout, and while Zverev responded with some fierce groundstrokes of his own it was the Greek who produced the goods at crucial moments in a 6-4, 6-2 victory at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Tsitsipas was involved in one of the most topsy-turvy matches of the year late on Friday night as he battled past Diego Schwartzman in a Monte Carlo classic in the quarter-finals. The Greek showed no signs of fatigue from that battle and also avoided the lapses of concentration that had blighted his performance against Schwartzman to see victory through against Zverev in 75 minutes.
“It was good,” said Tsitsipas in his on-court interview. “I don’t know whether the long match gave me some rhythm, but I was able to play good tennis today. I’m happy with the level I was able to execute and come up with some good ideas on the court.”
The third seed’s opponent in Sunday’s final will be Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, after the Spaniard reached a maiden ATP Tour final with a 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3 win over Grigor Dimitrov earlier on Saturday.
Tsitsipas will take a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead over the Spaniard into Sunday’s clash, but the Greek is not taking anything for granted against a player who has also beaten World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz this week.
“It’s going to take a little bit more,” said Tsitsipas. “He’s on a good run, in a good rhythm. I’ve played him before, he’s a good opponent, I’ve had big battles against him and I’m going to try and be as ready as possible.
“I know he’s improved from before and I’m going to have that in the back of my head, to produce the best tennis that I can.”
Tsitsipas looked dialled in from the start against Zverev on Court Rainier III and appeared to have the upper hand for most of the opening set as he struck the ball sweetly off both wings. The German fought hard to twice recover from a break down but Tsitsipas produced a tenth game full of variety to clinch a third break and seal the set.
A tight second frame was more comfortable for Tsitsipas, who gave Zverev no room to breathe and began to use his drop shot to great effect to move his opponent around the court at will. The Greek broke twice to take the set and reach a fourth Masters 1000 final.
Tsitsipas’ path to victory was paved by the constant pressure he was able to exert on the Zverev serve. According to Infosys ATP Stats, the Greek won 47 per cent (15/32) of points against his opponent’s first delivery, one of the most feared weapons on Tour.
Tsitsipas’ win extends his ATP Head2Head series lead over Zverev to 7-3. The Greek has won all three of the pair’s meetings on clay, including a five-set semi-final thriller at Roland Garros in 2021.