There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Stefanos Tsitsipas’ long toilet breaks, with tons of criticism from the fans as well as Andy Murray. While he indulged in a similar break during the second round encounter of the ongoing edition of the US Open against 44th-ranked Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, Tsitsipas’ performance was exemplary as he sailed into the third round. The No. 3 seed defeated Mannarino in the encounter at Arthur Ashe Stadium, maintaining focus despite heavy rain and the opponent’s offbeat game to record a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-0 win. Tsitsipas is now through to the third round in New York for the second year in a row.
The 23-year-old was coming off a five-set, nearly five-hour-long marathon win over 2012 titlist Murray, which witnessed its fair share of delay. This certainly had an impact on the reaction from the New York crowd when Tsitsipas took a prolonged pause after dropping the third set, with boos clearly heard. The Greek tennis player seemed to use this reaction as fuel to neutralise his opponent, as evident from a career-high 27 aces recorded at the end of the encounter.
“I really didn’t think it was that many. I just felt very loose on my serve. My ball toss was very consistent, and that helped me find the spots, being so aggressive and just going for it,” he stated as quoted by US Open’s official website.
“I was able to deliver some good tennis in the fourth set. My intentions were much clearer, and I stayed calm and resilient on every single point,” added Tsitsipas.
Mannarino seemed tired during the course of the encounter, which may have been impacted by the effort involved in an opening-round comeback against countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The Frenchman rallied from a two-set deficit to win, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. The 33-year-old fell to 0-17 in Grand Slam play against Top-10 competition.
The US Open remains the only Grand Slam where Tsitsipas has yet to reach the Round of 16. Last year, he squandered six match points and a two-sets-to-one lead against Croat Borna Coric in the third round. The Greek tennis star admitted that he views the painful loss as a valuable lesson.
“It taught me a lot of things. I think it was important that that happened. I never thought it would have been possible to go through something like that. But I was very close. I saw it as a positive loss, despite me being so close to winning that match. Guess it built strength and gave me belief that things will get better,” he stated.
“I haven’t done anything wrong, so I don’t understand. The people love the sport; they come to watch tennis. I have nothing against them. I love the fans. But some people don’t understand. That’s all. They don’t understand. They haven’t played tennis at high level to understand how much effort and how much difficult it is to do what we are doing. Sometimes we need a short break to do what we have to do,” added the tennis star when asked about the boos by the spectators.
Tsitsipas will be seen taking on Rafael Nadal’s disciple Carlos Alcaraz in a mouth-watering first-time matchup next. The 18-year-old Spaniard is through to the third round, following a triumph against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in four sets, 7-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.