Stefanos Tsitsipas is one set away from reaching his first Grand Slam final on Friday at Roland Garros. The fifth-seeded Greek, who has won five of his seven ATPHead2Head meetings against Alexander Zverev, leads the German 6-3, 6-3, 4-6 in their semi-final.
Tsitsipas, who has an ATP Tour-leading 38 match wins this season, capitalised on early nerves from Zverev and bounced back from 0-3 down in the second set to win seven straight games. Zverev earned a lifeline in the third set and started to play his best tennis, as he did when he beat Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6(3) in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC final in March.
Tsitsipas, contesting his fourth major semi-final, was aggressive right from the start, capitalising on a nervous start from Zverev to win the first three games in 11 minutes. Ultimately, a backhand error gave Tsitsipas the 38-minute opener. Would Zverev respond? Only once in their past seven meetings had a player lost the first set and gone on to clinch victory (Tsitsipas in the 2018 Toronto quarter-finals).
An early break in the second set transformed Zverev, who started to strike his groundstrokes cleanly and move Tsitsipas around Court Philippe-Chatrier. The crowd became engaged, but Tsitsipas soon began to dictate having been let back into the match when Zverev struck consecutive backhands wide at 1-3. Further errors cost Zverev as Tsitsipas, quick to move onto the short ball, won the next six games — and 25 of 37 points.
Having been in total control, Tsitsipas gave Zverev a lifeline in the third set, when the Greek hooked a forehand wide to be broken in the third game. While Tsitsipas won 15 of 18 points at the net through three sets, Zverev was more than happy to attack and had luck on his side when he framed a smash over the net as he served for the set.