Tsitsipas Continues Strong Start To 2021, Ousts Gerasimov In Rotterdam

The second seed will next play Polish No. 1 Hurkacz

Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his impressive start to 2021 on Tuesday with a 7-6(4), 7-5 victory against Egor Gerasimov in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

The second seed remained calm throughout the one-hour, 54-minute match, battling through the Belarusian’s hot patches to make the second round in Rotterdam for the second consecutive year.

"I had to play more consistently and also what I increased in the [key] moments was the speed of my ball, which felt kind of floppy before. He had a solid game, he was serving well at times. He wasn't missing a lot, so it was difficult," Tsitsipas said. "I think once I put in my head that I needed to fight and I [couldn't] take [any] single moment for granted, things changed and I felt the confidence."

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Tsitsipas, who hit 31 winners, is now 7-1 on the young season. This is the Greek star’s first tournament since reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open, where he rallied from two sets down in the quarter-finals to stun World No. 2 Rafael Nadal

Playing the aggressive Gerasimov indoors was a tough test for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion. Just last week, the 28-year-old beat former World No. 1 Andy Murray at the Open Sud de France.

But Tsitsipas rode the momentum waves in the match and was more opportunistic. The Greek faced more break points, saving six of his opponent’s eight opportunities. And in the key moments, he used his experience to prevail against the World No. 76.

Gerasimov frequented the net and tried to take the action to Tsitsipas at every opportunity. In many cases, that paid off. But on Tsitsipas’ first match point, he scrambled to retrieve an overhead and eventually forced a backhand volley error from the Belarusian.

Tsitsipas will next play Hubert Hurkacz, who defeated Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-6(6) earlier in the day. The second seed leads the Polish No. 1 5-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, in which their past four meetings have gone to a deciding set.

"We've played a lot in the past. He's a great opponent, he's been giving me a hard time. It's a challenge going into that match," Tsitsipas said. "He can serve well, he has a great backhand that he can play both cross and down the line, so I think that's one of his biggest weapons. His forehand, I would say he doesn't make a lot of mistakes from that side. But overall he's a very solid, very consistent player."

World No. 26 Borna Coric beat home favourite Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-4, 7-6(4). In the second round, the Croatian could play top seed Daniil Medvedev. The Russian must first get past Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

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