Tsitsipas' 'Game Changer' Hold Lifts Him To QFs

Greek chases second Masters 1000 title of season

Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to his fifth ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season Thursday night with a fighting win over Italian Lorenzo Sonego at the Western & Southern Open. The Greek notched a Tour-leading 47th match win of the season with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory to set a Friday quarter-final with Matteo Berrettini or Felix Auger-Aliassime.

"He was going for every single shot and his footwork was close to unbelievable," Tsitsipas said. "He can do damage against high-ranked players. Things got really difficult in a few moments but I stayed there and waited for the opportunity to present itself."

Tsitsipas had not won a match at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre before this week, although he did reach last year’s semi-finals when the tournament was played in New York due to the pandemic.

Sonego stunned the second seed with an explosive opening set in which he hit 15 winners to three unforced errors and by winning 87 per cent of first-serve points.

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In the first game of the second set, Tsitsipas dug himself out of a 0/40 hole for just the fifth time of the year and broke Sonego in the next game to steal the momentum. The former Nitto ATP Finals champion took a more aggressive posture inside the baseline and won 11 of 13 net approaches.

The Greek also broke the 26-year-old World No. 27 in the first game of the third set and never relinquished his stranglehold on the match as Sonego didn’t get a sniff at a break point in the decider.

"That was a game changer," Tsitsipas said of the hold in the first game of the second set. "After finding my game from that part of the match onwards, things started working pretty well for me. The psychology kind of changed and I was having that fighting spirit and not letting go was very crucial."

Both players had clean stats sheets, with Tsitsipas boasting 24 winners to 15 unforced errors and Sonego 35 winners to 20 unforced errors. But the Greek’s edge in winning 31 of 51 points of five-to-nine-shot duration proved decisive.

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