Tsitsipas Charges Past Medvedev Into Roland Garros SFs

Greek ends Medvedev’s bid for World No. 1

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was in superb form as he charged past Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5 on Tuesday night to book a place in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

The FedEx ATP Race To Turin leader overcame the surging Medvedev, who was into this stage in Paris for the first time, to earn his first victory over the Russian since 2019 and improve to 2-6 in their ATP Head2Head.

Both players came in with perfect 3-0 records in Grand Slam quarter-final matches. But after two hours and 21 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier it was Tsitsipas who went on to reach the semi-finals in Paris for the second year in a row and his third consecutive Grand Slam semi-final (also 2021 Australian Open). 

"I'm playing good, and I think if I keep repeating the process, keep repeating the everyday hustle that I put, for sure there's going to be a reward, and why not," Tsitsipas said.

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Tsitsipas will next face sixth seed Alexander Zverev as he seeks to reach the championship match at a major for the first time. He leads the German 5-2 in their ATP Head2Head (1-0 on clay courts). The clash between 22-year-old Tsitsipas and 24-year-old Zverev will be the youngest Grand Slam semi-final since 22-year-old Andy Murray defeated 21-year-old Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in 2010. It is also the youngest Roland Garros semi-final since Rafael Nadal, 22, defeated Novak Djokovic, 21, here in 2008.

The second seed’s defeat also ended his bid to unseat Novak Djokovic at World No. 1. Medvedev would have risen to the top of the FedEx ATP Rankings by reaching the final if Djokovic did not, or by winning his maiden Grand Slam title in Paris. 

Tsitsipas was clinical in the opening set, bossing the rallies and exposing Medvedev’s lacklustre movement on clay courts. The Greek only lost four points on his serve – no more than one point per game – and won 85 per cent (17/20) of points behind his strong first delivery. 

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That left Medvedev under pressure as Tsitsipas regularly pulled him into the court with smart approaches: Tsitsipas won 9/10 points at the net to Medvedev’s 1/3. Tsitsipas broke early for a 3-1 lead and never looked back as he took the opening set in just 30 minutes.

Medvedev finally found his footing in the second, and employed a bit more variety – everything from the serve-and-volley combo, to a successful tweener lob – to keep Tsitsipas on his toes. The Russian recovered after going down another break at 2-1, and responded by raising his level and taking control of the rallies with his groundstrokes. 

Increasingly coming to the net – where he won 100 per cent (9/9) of points – and looking more comfortable moving around the court, Medvedev got them back on serve at 3-3 and stayed toe-to-toe with Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas found some big first serves when Medvedev worked his way to two set points at 5-4, and took them into a tie-break. But the fifth seed was clinical in the deciding tilt to take a two-set lead. 

The pair were locked into a tense battle as Medvedev looked to make a fast start after dropping the second set. He created five break opportunities on the Tsitsipas serve, and finally converted to take a 4-2 lead. But Tsitsipas never let Medvedev race ahead, and responded by winning eight of the next nine points to break straight back and take back control for 5-4.

Down match point at 6-5, Medvedev inexplicably served and volleyed behind an underarm serve that popped up into Tsitsipas' strike zone, and the Greek player gleefully spanked a down-the-line topspin backhand winner to seal the match.

"I felt like there was something coming up, so at that point I think I got prepared for it," Tsitsipas said of Medvedev's underarm serve. "It's that less of a second when you realize something is about to change from a regular [serve]. It was fine. I mean, I [did] what I had to do."

Did You Know?
At 22 years 305 days, Tsitsipas is bidding to become the youngest Grand Slam men’s singles champion since Juan Martin del Potro won the 2009 US Open aged 20 years 355 days. (Ages calculated at the end of the tournament.)