Tsitsipas Breaks Streak, Makes Perfect Start In London
Greek beats fellow debutant in south-east London
Stefanos Tsitsipas broke through with his maiden win against Daniil Medvedev on Monday at the Nitto ATP Finals, stepping up in critical moments to beat the Russian 7-6(5), 6-4 as both players made their debut at The O2.
”I watched this event when it was first held in London. I used to watch it on TV and dream of potentially playing it. It’s such an important event and pure joy to play here," Tsitsipas said. "It’s been a long way to come here, so I’m really grateful for the people who really believed in me. It means a lot.”
Tsitsipas improved to 1-5 against Medvedev in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. The Russian defeated Tsitsipas twice this year at Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo and Shanghai.
”It’s one of the most important victories in my career so far. I gave myself a big boost today, kept believing, kept fighting. It’s such a relief,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s not easy coming in knowing you’ve lost five times before, but I made a deal with myself that I’ll keep trying until I get it. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10, 20 times.
”This victory means a lot to me and this crowd means a lot to me. So much love, so much support, Greek flags everywhere. It almost feels like I’m playing in Athens.”
Medvedev was seeking his 60th tour-level win of the season. He's won 29 of his past 34 matches, including his first two ATP Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati (d. Goffin) and Shanghai (d. Goffin), a crown on home soil in St. Petersburg (d. Coric) and a maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open (l. to Nadal).
The Greek couldn’t convert the lone break point in the opening set and hit a slice backhand into the net. He struck first in the tie-break and a strong forehand helped him create a 4/2 mini-break advantage, but a forehand approach sent wide two points later tied up the score.
But at 5/5, the Tsitsipas produced one of his best points of the match and finished it with a forehand volley winner. Tsitsipas converted the opportunity with an aggressive forehand and let out a roar of delight. He finished the set with 16 winners and won 13 of 17 trips to the net.
Both players remained even in the second set, but Medvedev opted to let a forehand go when rushing the net at 4-4 and it landed well inside the baseline, giving the Greek a break point. Medvedev then hit a backhand long to give Tsitsipas the first break of the night and a chance to serve out the match.
He made good on his chance and comfortably held to wrap up the win in one hour and 42 minutes. Tsitsipas won 89 per cent of his first-serve points (39/44) and didn’t offer his opponent a break point.