Tsitsipas Swats Away Zverev, Returns To Monte Carlo Final To Face Davidovich Fokina
After 10 months, Stefanos Tsitsipas is back playing top flight tennis. The Greek is into his first big final since the French Open last year, and he’ll be the overwhelming favorite Sunday to defend his Monte Carlo title.
Today in the semifinal, Tsitsipas rolled past rival Alexander Zverev in emphatic fashion 6-4, 6-2. He has now won seven of 10 against the German. And he rebounded impeccably after the grinding win yesterday over Diego Schwartzman.
“I had to put my soul out there and I demanded from myself to make it physical, as surprising as this may sound after a very physical battle last night,” Tsitsipas said. “I knew that my body may not respond the same way that I wanted it to, but I had certain demands and I stuck to those demands and made them happen, as surreal as it may sound.
“I wanted to stay on the court as much as I had to and try to start rallies and make it physical. Obviously it worked in my favor.
“I don’t know whether the long matc hgave me some rhythm, but I was able to play good tennis today.
“I’m happy with the level I was able to execute and come up with some good ideas on the court.”
In his 19th career final, 9th on clay and 4th at the Masters level, Tsitsipas will take on the surprising Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
The 22-year-old ousted Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3 to reach his very final final of his career, and he does it at the Masters level.
“I am so, so happy to be in the final. It is a dream come true,” Davidovich Fokina on court. “When I was a kid I was dreaming about this day. It is a dream and I am so happy. The second set I had my chances, but I didn’t play very well. I was so tight and he just put the ball in. The tie-break was also tight. But I went to the bathroom and said that I want this win.”
He is the third different Spaniard to make a Masters final this year after Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells and Carlos Alcaraz’s big title in Miami.
Davidovich Fokina came into the clay season just 4-9 on the year, but like Tsitsipas, he loves playing in Monte Carlo.
“Since preseason in December, we worked very hard to have moment like this,” Davidovich Fokina said. “From the beginning of this season I had a lot of matches that I could have won but I lost them.
“I just continued to keep believing to keep pushing. Doesn’t matter about the results. I am just enjoying every moment and playing every ball.”
Tsitsipas is 2-0 against Davidovich Fokina including a retirement win a year ago in Monte Carlo.
“It’s going to take a little bit more,” said Tsitsipas of the final match. “He’s on a good run, in a good rhythm. I’ve played him before, he’s a good opponent, I’ve had big battles against him and I’m going to try and be as ready as possible.
“I know he’s improved from before and I’m going to have that in the back of my head, to produce the best tennis that I can.”
The No. 46 Davidovich Fokina will try to become the lowest ranked champion in Monte Carlo since No. 49 Andrew Pattison in 1974. He would also match Nadal in winning Monte Carlo in his second attempt.
The 23-year-old Tsitsipas will try to defend a title for a second time after Marseille in 2019-2020.
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