Tsitsipas Saves 3 Set Points, Takes Revenge Against Dimitrov In Vienna
In a tight battle with the narrowest of margins, the Greek star defeated Dimitrov 7-6(6), 6-4 to reach the second round at the ATP 500. The top seed saved three set points in the first set of his one-hour, 42-minute victory.
"Grigor is a tough competitor and the level of tennis was really high today. We both competed at our highest [level]," Tsitsipas said in his post-match interview. "That was great tennis that was being played during the entire match and I got really close to my [best] offence and showed incredible attitude [in] the last game, which was the one that was the most crucial of the match."
Dimitrov, who earlier this month advanced to the semi-finals in Indian Wells, maintained his good form indoors in Austria and played attacking tennis against Tsitsipas to give himself a 6/3 edge in the first-set tie-break. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion carved a surprise drop shot and had a good look at a backhand passing shot on his first set point, but the Greek was solid at the net to get out of trouble.
After Dimitrov missed a tough forehand passing shot wide at 6/4, he had his best opportunity to take the opener when his 23-year-old opponent dropped a return short at 6/5. The Bulgarian blasted a forehand just wide, and Tsitsipas took full advantage to take the set on his first chance.
To his credit, Dimitrov shook off the disappointment to play a good second set behind strong serving. He even held a break point at 4-4, but Tsitsipas dismissed it with an overhead before breaking in the next game with a forehand winner to clinch the match.
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"It’s important to aim for offensive tennis. The court speed is fast here and you have certain expectations of yourself. I came really close to those expectations today," Tsitsipas said. "I was there when I had to be and when I had to show offensive tennis. I think dealing with all the nerves and all the tight moments when they show up is also very important to improve your mentality and your psychology during these kinds of matches."
Tsitsipas has won two titles this season, including his first ATP Masters 1000 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. The World No. 3, who is making his second appearance in Vienna, will continue his pursuit of a maiden trophy at the ATP 500 against American Frances Tiafoe, who eliminated Serbian Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-4.
Tiafoe beat Tsitsipas in straight sets earlier this year at Wimbledon, but the Greek leads their budding ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-1.