Tsitsipas Survives Hurkacz Battle In Rotterdam

Greek to face Khachanov in the quarter-finals

Stefanos Tsitsipas kept alive his hopes of a maiden ATP 500 title on Thursday, as he outlasted Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

The second seed, who faced just one break point, broke late in the first and third sets to advance after two hours and seven minutes. Tsitsipas improved to 8-1 this year with his win over Hurkacz.

“I played really well. Both of us, we played a high [level] of tennis and didn’t give [away] many break-point opportunities," Tsitsipas said in an on-court interview. "[There were] pretty good serves from both sides and I am really glad that I fought so hard towards the very end. It was exhausting, but it paid off.”

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Tsitsipas’ victory extended his impressive ATP Head2Head record against the Delray Beach champion to 6-1, but the Greek’s rivalry with Hurkacz has been far from one-sided. The pair’s five most recent matches have required a deciding set.

“Hubert is a very tough competitor. We have played loads in the past,” said Tsitsipas. “Every single time I go out on the court, I know what to expect. He is a fighter and he doesn’t like to give up, so it always makes him a very difficult opponent.”

In a first set dominated by serve, Tsitsipas lured Hurkacz to the net and extracted errors to earn three set points at 5-4. The Greek moved up the court and struck an overhead winner to convert his first opportunity after 39 minutes. The second set followed the same pattern, with just one break point deciding the outcome of the set. At 3-3, Hurkacz played with depth and claimed his only break of the match with a powerful cross-court backhand winner.

Serving first in the decider, Tsitsipas applied scoreboard pressure with confident service holds. The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion failed to convert his first two match points on return, but he ripped a backhand passing shot up the line to earn his third chance at 6-5, deuce. Tsitsipas moved to the net and pressured his opponent into a forehand error to claim victory.

Tsitsipas will face Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals. The World No. 21 booked his spot in the last eight with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Cameron Norrie on Wednesday. Tsitsipas owns a 2-0 ATP Head2Head record against Khachanov, with wins against the Russian at the 2017 and 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters.

Borna Coric advanced to his second quarter-final of the year with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Dusan Lajovic. The two-time ATP Tour titlist broke Lajovic’s serve on four occasions and did not face a break point en route to a 72-minute win.

The World No. 26 will meet Kei Nishikori for a place in the semi-finals. Nishikori has already defeated two Top 30 opponents this week in Rotterdam: Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex de Minaur.

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