Tsitsipas Rues ‘Self Explosion’ As Win ‘Leapt Out Of My Hands’
After his three-set loss to Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday, Stefanos Tsitsipas discussed the disappointment of having to leave the Miami Open presented by Itau after letting an opportunity slip through his hands.
The Greek entered his quarter-final against Hurkacz with a 6-1 ATP Head2Head record and was the highest-ranked player left in the draw. Tsitsipas had beaten former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori and 24th seed Lorenzo Sonego to reach the last eight, but he was unable to make the next step in his quest for a maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy.
“I was very stressed these two weeks. Especially this week, I was feeling very stressed. I felt like it was my opportunity. I did quite well, but I feel like there was more space for me to show something greater,” said Tsitsipas.
“It's a disappointing loss. It's a very disappointing loss. It [leapt] out of my hands. I grabbed it. It was there. Everything was under control. And suddenly, I don't know, [there was a] self-explosion… But I'll take these two weeks as great two weeks, great memories, and I had plenty of fun playing out on the court.”
The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion raced into a 6-2, 2-0 lead on Grandstand and, after just 52 minutes, he held two break points for a double-break advantage in the second set. Hurkacz managed to escape danger in that crucial third game, and Tsitsipas' disappointment was compounded in the following game when he dropped serve for the first time in the match.
“I [didn’t] even have to break anymore, [I] just [had to keep] managing my serve. [It] didn't happen,” said Tsitsipas. “[At 3-3, 15/40] he hit that forehand on the line which was quite extreme in the very corner of the court.
“That was probably [a] little bit lucky from his side. I didn't see that shot during the entire week, and it happened on that break point.”
Had Tsitsipas managed to break serve in the seventh game and hold his serve in the next game, he would have led 6-2, 5-3. The World No. 5 felt he was within touching distance of landing a knockout blow but instead, Hurkacz claimed those two games to turn the match in his favour.
“Serving, knowing that you're [5-3] down, I feel like the opponent would be completely crushed,” said Tsitsipas. “There would be zero hope for him… I could have just completely punched him, knocked him out. But it was a bit unlucky for me, as well.”
While Tsitsipas was disappointed with the manner of his defeat, he was impressed with the level that took him to a commanding position in the match. The World No. 5 has shown great form in recent weeks, having arrived at the tournament fresh from a run to the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC final in Acapulco (l. to Zverev).
“I think I played unbelievable tennis until that point, 6-2, [2-0] up, going for a double break like nothing could stop me,” said Tsitsipas. “Suddenly, that one shot [at 3-3, 15/40] changed the whole psychology of the match… [It is] great for Hurkacz who did what he had to do in order to beat me, but I feel like there was a lost opportunity that shouldn't have happened today. Definitely not. It should have been my way. It should have been my win.”
Tsitsipas leaves Miami with a 17-5 record this season. Only Andrey Rublev, who enters his quarter-final clash against Sebastian Korda on Thursday with 19 wins from 22 matches this year, owns more wins in 2021.