It took him two hours and 42 minutes. Nearly three hours of top tennis with unlikely rallies, fabulous passes and bizarre returns, but eventually Stefanos Tsitsipas (22) got his opponent Karen Khachanov to his knees in the quarter finals of the 48th ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament: 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Today, the second-placed Greek can compete against Andrey Rublev for a place in the final.
He had to come a long way. Tsitsipas, labeled the new tournament favorite in Rotterdam Ahoy after the elimination of Daniil Medvedev, lost the first set to 'cannon' Khachanov, but then managed to give his game a new impulse. "I am happy to be able to raise my level in every game. That is great to see and feel." And, Tsitsipas analyzed afterwards, it was necessary. "Karen played fantastic. After I lost the first set, I started playing a bit more attacking, more aggressive, more like I like to do myself, and it turned out to work. If it doesn't work out, you have to change something about your game and luckily that was successful. Because especially in the first set he often put me on the wrong track. This match has demanded a lot from me. ”
The match had something surreal, Tsitsipas also thought afterwards: it was a typical match to get the audience on their feet. After another great rally you expect the explosion of sound from the audience or primal screams from the fans. But there was nothing more than a fist, or an approving applause from one of the coaches. Tsitsipas: "This match had it all, with incredible rallies and great points. For such a match it is a shame that there is no audience this year, but I am sure that the TV viewers at home also enjoyed it", said the Greek star, who, despite the wear and tear, had not considered for a moment to skip the doubles with his brother Petros, later in the day. "Of course I also want to keep playing doubles. I just want to help my brother. It may be difficult to explain what doubles with Petros means to me, but it gives me an incredible feeling, ”said the Greek. In the doubles, there was less success for the Tsitsipas family. Petros and Stefanos had to recognize their superior in two sets in the Finnish / French couple Henri Kontinen / Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
Tsitsipas is active for the fourth time in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament and has his most successful edition this year: he only won one match at his three previous performances in Rotterdam Ahoy. So he adds at least three victories to that this week. Now that the Greek, the number 6 in the world, consecutively defeated Egor Gerasimov (first round), Hubert Hurkacz (second round) and Karen Khachanov (quarter final), the final beckons. And that in the knowledge that the Greek is 'on fire' in 2021: Tsitsipas already won nine matches this year, against one defeat: the lost semi-final against Medvedev at the Australian Open.
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