Tsitsipas Digs Deep To Advance In Hamburg; Lajovic Sweeps Past Khachanov

Lajovic needs 62 minutes for victory

Stefanos Tsitsipas needed to draw upon all his fighting qualities on Thursday to get the better of qualifier Pablo Cuevas at the Hamburg European Open.

Second seed Tsitsipas improved to 3-0 against the 34-year-old Uruguayan 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 31 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals, where the Greek will challenge Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.

"I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very difficult opponent to face, particularly on this surface," said Tsitsipas, in an on-court interview. "He is a good friend and one of my idols growing up. It was a great match and I enjoyed it. There was a certain point in the match when I forgot I needed to win, as I was enjoying the game and the atmosphere, the crowd. I was playing with positive vibes and energy."

In a closely fought first set, Tsitsipas was forced to save four break points at 4-4 and another break point at 5-5, before clinching the 53-minute opener in the next game when Cuevas hit a double fault.

Cuevas, to his credit, didn’t falter, maintaining a high level of play, particularly on his single-handed backhand. But Tsitsipas stepped up when leading 5-4 in the second set to break the World No. 62 to love for his 20th match win of the season.

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Lajovic played almost flawlessly on Thursday to beat eighth seed Karen Khachanov 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes for a place in the last eight. Lajovic hit 15 winners to extend his perfect ATP Head2Head record to 4-0 against Khachanov (8-0 in sets).

Lajovic broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set when he moved Khachanov around the court to gain an error. Khachanov’s frustration built up after he struck a forehand into the net to gift Lajovic the sixth game. Lajovic won 16 of his 19 service points in the 26-minute opener.

There were five service breaks in a row in the second set, which turned in Lajovic’s favour once Khachanov hit a forehand wide — one of 20 unforced errors for the Russian — on break point at 2-2. Lajovic extended his lead to 5-2 with a fine crosscourt forehand winner and in the next game the Serbian closed out his 13th victory of the season with a forehand approach winner.

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