Sunday, May 12, 2019

Tsitsipas vs Djokovic in Madrid final

Tsitsipas vs Djokovic in Madrid final
Tsitsipas vs Djokovic in Madrid final

Stefanos Tsitsipas notched a big upset of second-seeded Rafael Nadal on clay Saturday to reach the championship match of the Mutua Madrid Open.

The rising Greek star's 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Nadal was his 10th career win against a Top 10 player.

Tsitsipas, who had five aces, will face top-seeded Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final. Djokovic recorded a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) over fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem in the other semifinal.

Djokovic will be looking for his third title in Madrid. He defeated Nadal in 2011 and Andy Murray in 2016.

Tsitsipas will be looking for his second consecutive title as he won the Estoril Open in Portugal last week.

The 20-year-old controlled play against the "King of Clay" in his impressive victory in two hours, 34 minutes. Tsitsipas had lost all seven sets over his three previous meetings with Nadal.

"I'm really happy that I proved myself today," Tsitsipas said afterward. "I played one of my best games this year. I'm really happy that I'm fighting and I'm in the zone. It's really nice to be able to play this way.

"Today's victory is just an unbelievable feeling. I can't really explain it further."

Tsitsipas won the first set before Nadal turned things around in the second. Nadal got the home-country fans in Spain riled up and rode the momentum to a 6-2 win.

But Tsitsipas regained control in the third set. Nadal put up a valiant fight to remain in the match in the final game, but two errors sabotaged his attempt.

When a shot by Nadal sailed into the net to end his bid for a sixth Madrid Open title, Tsitsipas dropped his racket and seemed momentarily stunned at his accomplishment.

"I didn't have a good feeling today to do the things I wanted to do and that's all," Nadal said. "I was clear what I had to do today, but tonight I wasn't capable of doing it."

Djokovic finished his straight-set win over Thiem in two hours, 22 minutes. He saved seven of 10 break points.

He also had a first serve taken away after committing his second and third time violations of the match. Not much of a problem, however, as Djokovic responded on one of the occasions by hitting his second serve for an ace.

"It's also OK to take away the first serve from the player if he exceeds the time," Thiem said after the match. "I think that's completely fine. One time, he hit me with an ace with the second serve, unbelievable, so that was also not going all my own way."

Djokovic didn't allow himself to be bothered by the violations. He felt it was more important to keep his focus.

"It was also a physical match so I took a bit more time between the points, especially in the important moments," Djokovic said. "Nerves kick in. I know I bounce the ball a lot. And I didn't complain for most of those warnings that I got because I know I went over the allowed time."

Article from Reuters