The Citizen (KZN)

Tsitsipas finds missing spark


Monte Carlo – Stefanos Tsitsipas completed a Monte Carlo Masters trophy hat-trick yesterday, holding off Casper Ruud 6-1, 6-4 in a display of “ruthless” tennis.

The 12th-ranked Greek, who will return to top 10 today, also won the title in the Principali­ty in 2021 and 2022.

Tsitsipas (above) said a chat with his team the night before the final gave him the spark he needed against his Norwegian opponent.

“I told them I would go out and play fearless tennis and that’s what I did. I couldn’t let the team down. I wanted to make the most of it,” said the 25-year-old, who had stunned Australian Open winner and world No 2 Jannik Sinner in the semifinals.

“I showed some unbelievab­le, ruthless tennis.”

Tsitsipas produced 30 winners to the 20 of Ruud who had reached the final with victory over world No 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday.

He is the fifth man to win three or more Monte Carlo titles, joining Rafael Nadal (11) and Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase, who won three apiece.

The Greek struck first with a break in the third game of the opening set, then saved three break points to lead 3-1.

Tsitsipas earned a double break for 4-1 and claimed the set after 36 minutes, as Ruud double-faulted.

In the second set, Tsitsipas got out of trouble in a 13-minute game, saving three break points at 3-3 after leading 40-love.

He claimed the title three games later on a first match point, a forehand winner down the line.

Tsitsipas explained that his 98-minute victory was more special than his first two title triumphs and cited a no-nonsense attitude heading onto the court.

“This is amazing, I want to thank family, friends and those who made this moment possible,” he said. “(Completing) the trinity (hat-trick) is even more special than the first two.”

He added: “This match was nerve-wracking – I really wanted the trinity and I got it today. I played cohesive tennis from start to finish.”

“Congratula­tions to Stefanos for winning again, he’s been playing so well all week,” said 10th-ranked Ruud.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa