Tsitsipas Back Up to Speed in Comfortable Australian Open Win
Stefanos Tsitsipas wasted little time getting up to speed at the Australian Open on Tuesday night.
The Greek dispelled any lingering doubts around his recovery from an elbow injury with a quickfire 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 win against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer in two hours and 10 minutes to reach the second round.
Tsitsipas has been understandably cautious at the beginning of the 2022 season. There was concern for the World No. 4 when he withdrew from his opening singles match against Hubert Hurkacz at the ATP Cup earlier this month, but the Greek insisted he just needed more preparation.
Fast-forward two weeks and the fourth seed made a fine start to his Australian Open campaign, showing no signs of physical discomfort against World No. 86 Ymer. Having reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park in 2019 (l. to Nadal) and 2021 (l. to Medvedev), Tsitsipas will hope this win can be a springboard for another deep run in Melbourne.
His run last year also included a meeting with Ymer, in which Tsitsipas dropped just six games in a straight-sets third-round win. The Swede managed a better tally this time around but was still unable to make a real dent in the Greek’s defences.
Tsitsipas won five games in a row in taking the first set 6-1, but had to recover from going down an early break to win the second. A year ago, Ymer had defeated Hubert Hurkacz and Carlos Alcaraz before falling to Tsitsipas, and he showed glimpses of that quality again. However, all too often he found himself pinned to the baseline as Tsitsipas made good use of his volleying skills, winning 34 of 48 points he played at the net.
Tsitsipas’ lack of match practice began to show a little in the third set, with some sloppy errors bringing his unforced error count to 38. He highlighted this area for improvement after the match.
“[I will try to] decrease the unforced errors, I think I had a few more than I usually have,” said Tsitsipas. “When you’re a professional tennis player, these small things can make a massive difference.”
He was also full of praise for Ymer, an opponent he knows well.
“Mikael is someone that I’ve been competing with for the past fifteen years, we are the same age, so it’s special to be facing each other on this court,” said Tsitsipas. “We started from eight years old playing together and now we are playing on Rod Laver [Arena].
“He gave me a hard time, really going after every single ball and staying in the match for as long as he could.”
Next up for Tsitsipas will be Argentine Sebastian Baez, who eliminated Spanish veteran Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 after three hours and 26 minutes.
Baez is used to the big stage after competing in last year’s Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. At the 21-and-under season finale, the Argentine defeated Hugo Gaston and Lorenzo Musetti to earn a place in the semi-finals, where he lost against Carlos Alcaraz.