© Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Stefanos Tsitsipas hit 59 per cent of his groundstrokes as forehands in the Monte Carlo final compared to 52 per cent for Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

How The Battle Of The Forehands Proved Critical In Tsitsipas' Monte Carlo Win

Brain Game digs into the Monte Carlo final

The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final was won in the deuce court.

Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed back-to-back Masters 1000 titles in the Principality with a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Sunday. The two players played even when battling through the Ad court, pounding backhands and run-around forehands. It was Deuce-court forehands where the 6’4” Greek stood tall and wrestled control of baseline exchanges.

Deuce-Court Forehands
Tsitsipas hit 65 forehand groundstrokes standing in the Deuce court and Davidovich Fokina slightly less with 55. It was Tsitsipas who won the honours on this half of the court, mainly by keeping his errors considerably lower than his opponent.

 Winners/Errors  Tsitsipas  Davidovich Fokina
 Winners  2  3
 Errors  9  15
 Total  -7  -12

What’s also important to note is that Tsitsipas forced eight errors when hitting his forehand from the Deuce court. Davidovich Fokina was far less potent, only able to extract two errors with his forehands originating from the Deuce court.

Ad-Court Forehands

Both players were looking to hit as many run-around forehands as possible when standing in the Ad court. Tsitsipas hit 56 while Davidovich Fokina was slightly higher at 59.

 Winners/Errors  Tsitsipas  Davidovich Fokina
 Winners  4  5
 Errors  5  7
 Total  -1  -2

Overall, there was very little separating the two players when hitting run-around forehands in the Ad court. Davidovich Fokina was more potent from this side, forcing seven errors, while Tsitsipas managed just four.

Backhands

Davidovich Fokina slightly took the honours with backhand performance, striking four winners while yielding 15 errors. The Spaniard also hit considerably more backhands during the final with 106 to the Greek’s 84.

 Winners/Errors  Tsitsipas  Davidovich Fokina
 Winners  1  4
 Errors  14  15
 Total  -13  -11

Davidovich Fokina was always looking to take hit backhand down the line to attack Tsitsipas or play back behind him wide through the Ad court. Tsitsipas committed 12 errors from a Davidovich Fokina backhand, while the Spaniard made 13 errors from Tsitsipas’ backhand wing.

When you combine all winners and errors in the Ad court from run-around forehands and backhands, Tsitsipas was -14 to Davidovich Fokina’s -13. This one-point difference for the Spaniard is in stark contrast to the five-point gap in the Deuce court for the Greek.

Forehands vs. Backhands
Another pivotal layer of the match that fuelled Tsitsipas’ hard-fought victory was simply the volume of forehand groundstrokes he was able to hit.

Tsitsipas Groundstrokes
• Forehands = 59% (121)
• Backhands = 41% (84)
• Total = 205

Davidovich Fokina Groundstrokes
• Forehands = 52% (114)
• Backhands = 48% (106)
• Total = 220

Tsitsipas was able to hit 59 per cent (121/205) of groundstrokes for the match, while Davidovich Fokina was considerably lower at 52 per cent (114/220). Advantage, defending champion.

Forehand Returns
Forehand returns were another critical area where Tsitsipas’ forehand stood tall against Davidovich Fokina’s forehand. Tsitsipas hit 25 forehand returns for the match and only missed one of them. Davidovich Fokina hit 18 forehand returns and failed to put eight of them back in play.

Overall, Tsitsipas’ backhand did exactly what it needed to — it did not bleed errors. He also turned 65 backhands into run-around forehands in the Ad court, providing pivotal support against Davidovich Fokina’s heavy backhand cross court.

But Tsitsipas can especially look to his forehand performance in the Deuce court as a key location where he was able to arm-wrestle control of critical baseline exchanges on the red dirt by the sea.

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