Stefanos Tsitsipas has charged into his fourth North American ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final from as many events this year after a gruelling three-set victory over Australian Alex de Minaur at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.
The Greek had made the quarter-finals in Miami, as well as back-to-back semi-finals in Toronto and CIncinnati before he added Indian Wells to the list with a his 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 6-2 win over the 22nd seed. The second seed overcame 40 unforced errors – eight more than his opponent’s – and finished with 34 winners, two more than De Minaur, to book a showdown with unseeded Nikoloz Basilashvili, an earlier winner over Karen Khachanov.
“I feel like today’s game I was mostly pushing against myself rather than my opponent and it was one of those matches where I really had to get to the limit and show what I’m capable of when I’m in the red zone,” Tsitsipas said on court. “That was incredible the way I just stayed in the match. I had to go through so many difficulties in order to find a solution and I executed towards the end of the match.
Since his return from a bout of Covid-19 post Wimbledon, De Minaur had struggled to recapture his sharpest form. He lost six of his subsequent seven singles matches before he posted consecutive wins at Indian Wells, the first time he had so since his fifth ATP Tour title at Eastbourne.
Tsitsipas held a commanding 5-0 ATP Head2Head advantage at tour level over the 22-year-old and had not dropped a set to him since 2018. After the pair traded early breaks on Stadium 1 the shot-making level from both lifted and it was De Minaur who took control in the tie-break as he raced to 5/0.
The Australian had the set in the bag on his third opportunity and after a pair of early breaks in the second set, he dug out a tough hold on a flawless drop-shot winner to keep his nose in front 3-2. As the match approached the two-hour mark, De Minaur’s level dipped slightly as he landed just one first serve in the 11th game of the set.
Tsitsipas secured the break and twice held set point on serve, but De Minaur found the answer each time to force another tie-break. In a reversal of the first-set tie-break, it was the Greek who bolted out of the blocks to 4/0 before he levelled the match after a 75-minute second set.
Neither player had consolidated a break of serve throughout the opening two sets, but Tsitsipas brought that to an end when he jumped to 3-1 in the deciding set. There was still plenty of fight left in his opponent, but as De Minaur served to stay in the match cramps began to set in and he was broken to end the contest at the two-hour, 46-minute mark.
“I know there are a lot of seeds, which play great tennis. My biggest priority is to play my best against any player regardless of the ranking or status,” Tsitsipas said. “This week has been a difficult journey with lots of battles, two three-setters so far, so this is something I’m going to take as a learning experience and use it for something better in the tournament.”