Updates: Zverev, Tsitsipas Battling In Fifth Set To Reach The Final

  • Posted: Jun 11, 2021

Sixth seed Alexander Zverev has recovered from two-sets-to-love down against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in their Roland Garros semi-final on Friday. Contesting a deciding set, Zverev and Tsitsipas are level at 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in their eighth ATP Head2Head meeting (Tsitsipas leads 5-2).

Zverev, who recovered from 0-2 sets down against German qualifier Oscar Otte in the first round, has a 16-7 record in five-set matches. Tsitsipas is 5-4 in five set clashes.

Tsitsipas, who has an ATP Tour-leading 38 match wins this season, capitalised on early nerves from Zverev and bounced back from 0-3 down in the second set to win seven straight games. Zverev earned a lifeline in the third set and started to play his best tennis, as he did when he beat Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6(3) in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC final in March. The German then won 20 of 24 service points in the fourth set.

The winner will challenge World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion, or 13-time titlist Rafael Nadal, who play their semi-final later today.

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Tsitsipas, contesting his fourth major semi-final, was aggressive right from the start, capitalising on a nervous start from Zverev to win the first three games in 11 minutes. Ultimately, a backhand error gave Tsitsipas the 38-minute opener. Would Zverev respond? Only once in their past seven meetings had a player lost the first set and gone on to clinch victory (Tsitsipas in the 2018 Toronto quarter-finals).

An early break in the second set transformed Zverev, who started to strike his groundstrokes cleanly and move Tsitsipas around Court Philippe-Chatrier. The crowd became engaged, but Tsitsipas soon began to dictate having been let back into the match when Zverev struck consecutive backhands wide at 1-3. Further errors cost Zverev as Tsitsipas, quick to move onto the short ball, won the next six games — and 25 of 37 points.

Having been in total control, Tsitsipas gave Zverev a lifeline in the third set, when the Greek hooked a forehand wide to lose serve in the third game. While Tsitsipas won 15 of 18 points at the net through three sets, Zverev was more than happy to attack and had luck on his side when he framed a smash over the net as he served for the set.

Zverev carried the momentum in a serve-dominated fourth set by continuing to adjust his positioning on return. Tsitsipas became riled and couldn’t get a look-in on Zverev’s serve. From 4-3, 0/30 in the third set to a 5-3 lead in the fourth set, Zverev won 22 of 24 service points.

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