Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame a tough Western & Southern Open quarterfinal clash against Felix Auger-Aliassime to earn a spot in the last four in Cincinnati. Despite squandering two match points in the second set, Tsitsipas defeated Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 after two hours and 12 minutes to reach the semifinals at this tournament for the second successive year. “Tennis is a psychological game and things like this happen. It’s important to just stick to your roots and what you are doing best,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview.
The Greek was in full control for most of the first two sets. Tsitsipas took a commanding 6-2, 5-4 15/40 lead as Auger-Aliassime struggled to find his rhythm on the day. But on his second match point on the Canadian’s serve, Felix hit a backhand that barely clipped the back of the baseline. The ball was so close that Tsitsipas thought it was out and he had won the match. But instead, that served as a turning point as Auger-Aliassime quickly turned the table and sent the match to a third set.
The match points he lost did not cause any panic for the Greek player. In fact Auger-Aliassime gifted his opponent an early break in the third and Tsitsipas never looked back as he won the final set by losing just one game in the process. “It might not have been ideal in the second set, especially when I made so many opportunities and had such a good opportunity to close it a bit earlier. But with a lot of patience and just trying to find that opportunity in the third set, I was stepping in, I was really determined and I didn’t let go,” Tsitsipas added.
“[I was] determined, fierce and feisty when I had to be. I’m just filled with many emotions right now. Things got really tough at some point and I had to find different solutions and come up with some new ideas and I followed through. [I] made it a choice of mine to step in with aggression and build up the game.”
Next up for Tsitsipas will be Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Alexander Zverev. The German dominated Ruud with an overwhelming 6-1, 6-3 victory in the Western & Southern Open quarterfinals. Tsitsipas leads the German 6-2 in their ATP head-2-head rivalry.
Looking ahead to the mouth-watering semifinal, Zverev said, “The matches are not going to get easier. I think Stef is somebody who is in incredible form right now and he’s looking forward to playing this match as well because we’re right in front of the US Open. We should be playing our best tennis, and I think it’s going to be entertaining for all of us.
“When you’re in the semi-finals of a Masters, you’re playing your best tennis. I just feel like when I’m playing at my best, I can compete and beat anybody. But I think Stef feels the same way. The better player will win tomorrow and I’m looking forward to that.”