want to blunt Daniel Medvedev‘s dazzling deep-court defense? The go-to tactic seems simple – hitting the net – but it’s far easier planned than executed against the world No. 1. Stefanos Tsitsipas used old-school strategy to great effect in a semifinal win on Saturday at the Western & Southern Open.
In the 10th installment of the Medvedev-Tsitsipas rivalry, the Greek emerged victorious 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3 as the fourth-seeded player used his all-court play to defeat one of his opponents achieve an extremely satisfactory result the most challenging competitors. With the help of 36 well-timed net approaches, the Greek closed the gap to 3-7 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.
“There were some difficult shots that I had to play a little longer,” Tsitsipas said of his moderate game plan. “A couple of short balls that I really took advantage of and got in. Lots of brave serves and volleys, approaches to the net that definitely gave me this great win today.”
Two sets of quality tennis – both won by Tsitsipas – booked a bizarre middle stanza that saw both men lose focus for alternate stretches. The Greek secured a set point in the tiebreak of the first set as he won the last three points to take the lead but quickly fell 5-0 in the second thanks to some premature double faults.
Avoiding the bagel and then some, he got to 0/40 when Medvedev served at 5-3 but failed to convert and instead took his momentum into the final set.
“I knew I had to sign up for a difficult task, third set, it wasn’t going to be easy,” said Tsitsipas after the game. “He made it very physical and very demanding for me. I just took advantage of some of his missed first serves. I think I’ve had a couple of occasions where it seemed to go my way.”
Tsitsipas got the lone break point of the last set in his sixth game thanks to a double fault from Medvedev and served the match coolly with the help of a strong net game – a formula he relied on again and again during the two games. hour, 23 minutes game.
“He missed a lot of first serves in a row and that gave me some time to think a little more clearly about my next move,” said Tsitsipas, alluding to his opponent’s 49 percent first serve rate. “He gave me a double fault at the break point, which I think was a very important moment for me to do my best. I was a few games away and I was very calm and focused on every single task I was given .”
The fourth-place finisher won 75 percent (27/36) of his net points in the match and showed great patience as he worked his way into attack on rallies. While he hit some world-class volleys, his talent for well-timed approaches left him with an uncomplicated task on many of his trips to the apron – at least as easy as it can be against the lithe Medvedev, who flashed his elite retrieval skills with a stunning Full-length forehand pass as he chased parity late in the final set.
That INSIGHTS Attack Statistics underscore Tsitsipas’ devastating offensive performance in the final set. The Greek turned the screws with his skill at net and a barrage of punishing forehand as he played 26 percent of his attacking shots in the third set.
Playing in Cincinnati in his third straight semifinal, the Greek weathered that stage for the first time to reach his second Masters 1000 hard-court final (Toronto 2018). He will turn himself in Borna Korika 6-3, 6-4 winner against Cameron Norriein the title fight on Sunday.
Tsitsipas leads the ATP Tour this season with matches won (46) and Masters 1000 matches won (19).
Did you know?
All four of Tsitsipas’ hard-court titles have been clinched indoors on the ATP Tour, including his triumph at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.