TENNIS

Net profit: Stefanos Tsitsipas sinks Daniil Medvedev to reach first Cincinnati final | ATP Tour

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Want to blunt Daniil Medvedev’s dazzling defense in depth? The tactic of choice is seemingly simple – going to the net – but it’s much easier to plot than to execute against the world No.1. Stefanos Tsitsipas used old-school strategy to great effect in a semi-final win on Saturday at the Western & Southern Open.

The 10th episode of the Medvedev v Tsitsipas rivalry saw the Greek emerge 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3 as the fourth seed used his all-court game to deliver a hugely satisfying result against one of his toughest rivals. With the help of 36 clean, well-timed approaches, the Greek closed the gap to 3-7 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.

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“There were some tough shots that I had to play a bit more,” Tsitsipas said of his measured game plan. “Some short balls that I really enjoyed and went in. Lots of brave serves and volleys, approaches to the net that definitely gave me this big win today.”

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Two sets of high quality tennis – both won by Tsitsipas – concluded a bizarre middle stanza in which both men lost focus for alternating stretches. The Greek saved a set point in the first set tie-break by winning his last three points to lead, but quickly fell 0-5 behind in the second thanks to a few untimely double faults.

He dodged the bagel and then some, reaching 0/40 as Medvedev served at 5-3, but couldn’t convert and instead gathered momentum in the final set.

“I knew I had to sign up for a tough task, the third set, it wasn’t going to be easy,” Tsitsipas said after the game. “He made it very physical and very demanding for me. I just took advantage of some of his first missed serves. I think I had a few opportunities where it seemed to be going on my end.”

Tsitsipas claimed the lone break point of the final set in his sixth game, courtesy of a double fault from Medvedev, and coldly served the match to love with the help of solid net play – a formula on which he relied repeatedly throughout the two-hour, 23-minute match.

“He kept missing a lot of first serves in a row and that gave me some time to think a little more clearly about my next move,” Tsitsipas said, alluding to his opponents’ 49% first serve percentage. . “He double faulted me on the break point, which I think was a very important moment for me psychologically to give my best shot. I was a few games away and I was very calm and focused in every task entrusted to me.”

The fourth seed won 75% (27/36) of his net points in the game, showing great patience as he worked his way up the attack on the rallies. While hitting world-class volleys, his knack for well-timed approaches left him with an easy task on many of his frontcourt trips – at least as easy as it gets against the lanky Medvedev, who showed his elite recovery skills. with a superb forehand pass on the fullest of full stretches as he continued an early break in the final set.

The PROSPECTS in attack the stats point to Tsitsipas’ devastating attacking production in the final set. The Greek turned the screws with his dexterity at the net and a barrage of punishing forehands as he played 26% of his attacking shots in the decider.

Medvedev versus Tsitsipas

Playing in his third consecutive semi-final in Cincinnati, the Greek took this step for the first time to qualify for his second Masters 1000 final on hard court (Toronto 2018). He will face Borna Coric, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Cameron Norrie, in Sunday’s title match.

Tsitsipas leads the ATP Tour in matches won (46) and Masters 1000 matches won (19) this season.

Did you know?
All four of Tsitsipas’ hard-court titles have come indoors on the ATP Tour, including his triumph at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals. An outdoor title in Cincinnati would be his first hard-court Masters 1000 crown and third trophy. in the general classification at this level (Monte Carlo, 2021-22).

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