Stefanos Rising: Tsitsipas Into D.C. Semis
Could this be the week that #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas breaks through to win his first ATP World Tour title? So far, the 19-year-old is looking in great form in Washington, D.C.
Tsitsipas defeated 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up David Goffin 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to reach the Citi Open semi-finals, where he will face top seed Alexander Zverev. The teenager has not dropped a set since saving two match points in his second-round victory against 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Jared Donaldson.
"I played very well from the beginning to the end," Tsitsipas said. "I managed to break him early, stayed concentrated on my serve, which was very important that I didn’t get broken today. In general, it was a very good match and I really enjoyed myself out there."
Against Goffin, Tsitsipas showed a confident aggression, taking the points to the World No. 11. The Belgian made an uncharacteristic number of unforced errors in his one-hour, 14-minute loss. The Greek saved all three break points he faced, an impressive feat given that Goffin entered the week third on the ATP World Tour this season in return games won at 32 per cent, according to Infosys ATP Scores & Stats.
Forced to contend with rain delays in Washington D.C., including one as he was about to serve for the opening set against Goffin, Tsitsipas felt his lead-up preparation on the French Riviera had him well adapted to the humid conditions.
"It’s pretty difficult," Tsitsipas said. "In humidity the ball is bouncing higher. The game is different than playing in a dry climate. I actually got used to it.
"I was practising at the Mouratoglou (Tennis) Academy in Nice and the conditions there felt pretty much the same as here. I got used to that a week before and when I came here I felt pretty comfortable from the beginning of the tournament."
It's a notable achievement, considering Tsitsipas began the 2018 season with just four tour-level wins. This week one year ago, he was World No. 164. Tsitsipas has yet to play Zverev.
Did You Know?
Tsitsipas is now 6-7 against Top 20 opponents this season. He will attempt to reach his second ATP World Tour final, after losing in the Barcelona championship match against Rafael Nadal.