Third set: Zverev 4-2 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): Tsitsipas stays in touch in this third set, winning his service game to 15 with ease.
Third set: *Zverev 4-2 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-2): A big game from Zverev begins with his fifth double-fault and he goes 0-30 down when Tsitsipas slides across court to beat him with a splendid pass down the line. It’s 15-30 after Tsitsipas misses a sitter and then a mis-hit from the Greek makes it 30-30. Tsitsipas rallies to give himself a break point and pile the pressure on Zverev.
He responds in fine style with a booming 138mph serve to restore parity and make it deuce. Zvereve follows up with another excellent winner, dragging the ball into court by millimetres from out wide, with what looked an impossible forehand. He wins the next point to hold.
Third set: Zverev 3-2 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): Both players are drenched in sweat, while Tsitsipas’s white T-shirt and headband are both stained with the brown Roland Garros clay. The Greek gives himself another on-court pep-talk before bamboozling Zverev with another brilliantly executed drop shot en route to holding his serve.
Third set: *Zverev 3-1 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-2): Zverev tries to gee up the crowd with some half-hearted gesticulations en route to holding his serve to 15 and making it three games on the spin.
Third set: Zverev 2-1 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): At 30-30 it’s a massive point on Tsitsipas’s serve but a bad bounce of the ball prompts the Greek to send a forehand wide. He pulls another one six inches wide to give Zverev the break of serve in what could be a huge turning point in this match.
Third set: *Zverev 1-1 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-2): The game goes to deuce courtesy of more unforced errors from Zverev, who looks a beaten docket. He keeps looking to his father, who is powerless to help him from his seat. Zverev does keep it together to hold serve and get back on the scoreboard.
Third set: Zverev 0-1 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): Tsitsipas makes another foray to the net to make it 30-30 with a sliced volley that leaves Zverev marooned at the baseline. He wins the next twqo points, the second with a wonderful passing shot down the line, to make it seven games in a row.
“For a long period of time I was winning ATP Masters 1000s, the Nitto ATP Finals, but I couldn’t get quite deep in Grand Slams,” Zverev said after his quarter-final win. “I was putting bricks on myself. In a way, I was not performing to the level that I was in other tournaments. I was not playing the same level. I was very [impatient] with myself.
“In the Grand Slams, they’re still a different animal. Two-week-long tournament, you play every other day, you play five sets. It’s very different. You got to learn how to play them… Hopefully I can say that slowly but surely I’m starting to get the hang of it.”
Judging by the forlorn looks he’s giving his dad/coach in the stands, he hasn’t quite got the hang of it just yet. He needs to change his tactics in this match and do so very, very quickly.
Second set: *Zverev 3-6 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): Zvereve sends a couple of forehands wide from the baseline to make it 30-30. Another sloppy error gives Tsitsipas set point, which Zverev saves with a smash from the T. He concedes another set point with a backhand into the net then sends another forehand drifting wide of the right tramlines to go two sets down. He’s in big trouble.
Second set: Zverev 3-5 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-1): Tsitsipas wins his service game to 30, even managing to win a point despite his racquet slipping from his hand during one serve.
Second set: *Zverev 3-4 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): Tsitsipas covers some serious ground to go 0-30 up with a wonderful drop volley at the net. Zverev pulls a point back but Tsitsipas spanks another unreturnable volley from the net to give himself two break points. Zverev saves the first but goes wide off the net-cord to end a long rally on the second. He’s lost four games in a row now and Tsitsipas is back in control of the match.
Second set: Zverev 3-3 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-1): Tsitsipas forces Zverev wide time and again, opening up large sections of the court into which he fires his winners. He takes the game to 40-30 and closes out with a final booming serve that Zverev is unable to return to level proceedings in the second set.
Second set: * Zverev 3-2 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): Zverev hits a forehand long to make it 30-30 and open the door for Tsitsipas, who sticks his head through it after Zverev goes wide off the net-cord. It’s break-back point but Zverev saves it. He proceeds to whip a forehand wide to give Tsitsipas another break point and then sends a lazy backhand wide to let the Greek back in to the set.
Second set: Zverev 3-1 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-1): Tsitsipas gets back on the scoreboard in this second set with no fuss whatsoever.
Second set: *Zverev 3-0 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): A couple of poor backhand efforts from Tsitsipas, followedf by a rubbish forehand prompt the Greek to give himself a good talking to at 40-30. He wins the subsequent point to make it deuce. Tsitsipas doesn’t appear to dwell on his mistakes as long as his opponent but on this occasion loses the game after Zverev gets a lucky bounce off the net cord.
Second set: Zverev 2-0 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-1): Zverev is standing way, way back each time he receives Tsitsipas’s first serves, so much so that he’s almost in line with the judges at the back of the court. It’s making his occasional forays to the net a lot longer in distance but he shows an impressive turn of foot to get up to force an error from the Greek, who volleys into the net to go 15-30 down. It goes to 30-40 and Zverev has his first break point of the match. A long forehand from Tsitsipas is an inch too long and Zverev roars in triumph.
Second set: * Zverev 1-0 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): Another ace from Zverev, who shows no obvious psychological effects of going a set down as he wins the opening game of the second set to love.
First set: Zverev 3-6 Tsitsipas*: Tsitsipas sends a tight backhand into the net to make it 30-30 but takes the game to set point. A wide forehand from the baseline takes the game to deuce, prompting some excitement and applause in the stands but he closes out the set with a minimum of fuss.
First set: * Zverev 3-5 Tsitsipas: Zverev changes racquets for the new balls, which he shows to his opponent for reasons that remain a mystery to me and I’ve been watching or playing tennis for 40 years. I hasten to add, I haven’t played in about 28 years, apart from one ill-advised knockabout with a bloke who was much better than me about 12 months ago.
Meanwhile back in the match you actually game here to read about, Zverev double-faults to make it 40-30 but holds his nerve to close out the game with a serve that the speed gun clocks at 136mph .
First set: Zverev 2-5 Tsitsipas*: An uncharacteristically long rally ends with our first through-the-legs from the baseline shot of the match from Zverev, but the ball sails long after some excellent net play by Tsitsipas. He wins another long rally and the game when Zverev shanks a cross-court backhand wide. The German must keep serve to stay in the set.
First set: *Zverev 2-4 Tsitsipas: Zverev’s booming serve (one clocked at 139mph) wins him his second game of the match to love.
First set: Zverev 1-4 Tsitsipas*: Tsitsipas is pummeling Zverev’s forehand and the unforced errors are coming thick and fast. There have been eight so far and the Greek wins this game to love.
First set: *Zverev 1-3 Tsitsipas: There are 5,000 people allowed in the stands of Court Philippe Catrier today but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere near that number in attendance yet. Perhaps they’re all enjoying a long lunch.
After several double-handed backhands, a quick shuffle of the feet and long forehand towards the corner from the baseline makes it 30-15 to Zverev but he pulls a subsequent forehand high and long. It’s a very nervy start from the German but Tsitsipas responds in kind on the next point. Zverev gets on the scoreboard.
First set: Zverev 0-3 Tsitsipas*: A delightful cross-court backhand drop shot is the highlight of a game in which Tsitsipas extends his lead and is also warned for taking too long to take his serve. Another warning and he’ll lose the right to a first serve on that point.
First set: *Zverev 0-2 Tsitsipas: The first double-fault of the game comes on Zvereve’s second service point and is quickly followed by the second. It’s been a bit of a problem for him in this tournament. Tsitsipas wins the next rally for two break points but Zverev replies with an ace. A forehand error results in him losing his serve.
First set: Zverev 0-1 Tsitsipas*: Tsitsipas serves first, wearing a white headband and T-shirt and purple shorts. Zverev receives wearing a black headband and tank-top. He also wears purple shorts.
Tsitsipas wins the first two points but is pegged back to 30-30 and takes it to 40-30 when Zverev slashes a wild cross-court forehand wide. It goes to deuce, then advantage Tsitsipas when Zverev goes wide off the net-cord. Game Tsitsipas after a heavy volley from his rival goes wide of the umpire’s chair.
Not long now: Sascha Zverev is first out on to the court, followed soon afterwards by his opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek has the edge on his German rival in head-to-heads and has one five of their seven encounters.
On the day a slightly more high profile tournment kicks off in Europe, it’s Germany taking Greece in the first of today’s men’s singles semi-finals. For all their successes, neither Sasha Zvereve nor Stefanos Tsitsipas has ever won a Grand Slam title and whoever wins today will go on to contest their first ever French Open final on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Novak Djokovic or Rafa Nadal, who play later today, will be waiting.
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