Stefanos Tsitsipas added his name to the growing list of Masters champions on Sunday easing past Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-3 in the Monte Carlo final.
The 22-year-old Greek never dropped in a set in five matches en route to his sixth title, though faced just one player in the Top 20, his 8th-ranked opponent today.
“I just can’t describe it,” Tsitsipas said of the win. “It was unbelievable. So many things went through my head. So many memories came back from when I was a child. It’s incredible. I like expressing myself and showing emotion. I’ve seen players not react to their wins like this. It makes me feel good about myself. I need that.”
Tsitsipas had come up short in two previous Masters final, but this one almost two years after 2019 Madrid, he was in complete control.
Tsitsipas, who lost to Rublev earlier this year in Rotterdam, grabbed early breaks in both sets and dropped just four points total on first serve.
“Nerve-wracking,” he said of match point. “It wasn’t easy. I had to play great tennis to reach that moment of the match. It was all about fighting in the end. The last point was just trying to play as deep as possible, press if the ball comes short.
“I was doing exactly what I had to. The intentions were right. That gave me the last shot, which landed out.”
Rublev had stunned Nadal en route to his biggest career final, first at this level. Entering match the Russian had never been to a Masters semifinal, now he’s made a semi and a final.
“I feel happy with the week, and I feel super sad with the final, that I couldn’t show the game, I couldn’t show fight, yeah, I didn’t win,” Rublev said.
“I’m happy with the week because I beat so many great players. I beat one of the best players in history. So, of course, anyway it’s a special week. Doesn’t matter the final.
“But still, of course, even more after the matches like this, you want to win the title. Not always everything goes by your way. It’s happen today. I was completely exhausted. Stefanos, he showed great game. He was just better than me, and that’s it.”
Tsitsipas now leads Rublev 4-3 in this budding rivalry.
He’s an incredible athlete,” Tsitsipas remarked about Rublev. “I think the things that he has done and the opponents that he has beaten shows a lot about his game, who he can be in his good days.
“I think his forehand is one of the biggest forehands on the tour. He has a very good, consistent serve, which makes it very difficult to play against him. He’s consistent. He doesn’t give you free points. He doesn’t give you opportunities to just play soft with him. You have to play deep. You have to counterattack his balls.”
Tsitsipas follows Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz as new Masters champions this year. And after his strong start to 2021, he’ll now go into May as the over ATP Race leader in points for this year.
“It’s just the beginning,” Tsitsipas said. “We still have plenty of tennis to be played this year. Great to be in the lead. I’m not trying to think of it too much because, again, many tournaments in front of me, ahead of me. I’m going to try to recalibrate, refocus. Attention is now in Barcelona.
“My body is feeling good, which is a good sign. I’m really pumped to go for some more points the last couple of weeks. In the next couple of weeks, not the last ones.”
Both players now head to Spain to play in Barcelona.
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