Tsitsipas Surges Past Rublev Into Roland Garros Semi-finals
Greek to play World No. 1 Djokovic on Friday
“I felt comfortable playing on this court and despite getting off to a bad start and being a break down, I remembered what a big fighter I am,” said Tsitsipas, in an on-court interview with Cedric Pioline. “It’s also about finding solutions in difficult moments and I managed to put my brain to work.”
Tsitsipas, who improves to a 27-9 match record on the season, won five straight games from 3-5 down in the first set en route to recording his second win over Rublev in their fourth ATP Head2Head meeting.
The 22-year-old Greek will next challenge World No. 1 and 2016 champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the semi-finals on Friday. Tsitsipas, who lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2019 Australian Open semi-finals, has a 2-3 record against Djokovic.
Rublev broke clear in the fifth game with a forehand drop volley winner and held his advantage to 5-3, when he came within three points of the set. However, Tsitsipas grew in confidence to break back and was handed the 48-minute first set when Rublev over-hit a forehand long. It was the first time that Tsitsipas had won a first set against Rublev, who won their first tour-level meeting at the 2019 US Open, 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-6(7), 7-5.
Tsitsipas, who won five straight games from 3-5 in the first set to 1-0 in the second set, fortuitously broke for a 4-2 advantage in the second set, when a backhand rose sharply off the top of the net at 15/40 to catch Rublev off guard. Tsitsipas continued to draw Rublev to the net and the Russian buckled under the pressure at 2-5, losing his serve for a fourth time when he hit a backhand long.
There was no way back for Rublev, who was broken in the fourth game of the third set. Rublev saved one match point at 2-5, 30/40 with an unreturned serve, but Tsitsipas wasn't to be denied for long. The Greek soon completed victory with his 35th winner of the match, a forehand volley.
“I was just probably returning better,” said Tsitsipas. “For sure, I had less unforced errors… He missed a few shots that he didn't before. I think tactics changed after [that]. I started to feel my game a bit better. I started feeling my movement on the court better [and I] became slightly more comfortable moving around the court, hitting at the same time.”
“I think I played well in the first set,” said Rublev. “I had good chances. In [the] important moment, when I need to serve for the [set], I didn't make it. But it's part of the sport… Then, after the first set, he started to play really, really well. In my case, I was playing not bad. [I made] some little mistakes.”