Stefanos Tsitsipas Rallies Past Karen Khachanov in Epic 3-Setter to Reach Rotterdam Open 2021 Semifinals

Published 03/05/2021, 9:57 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2021 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas reacts during his second round match against Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis REUTERS/Loren Elliott

World Number 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas battled past a doughty and determined Karen Khachanov to book a semis berth at the ATP Rotterdam Open on Friday.


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Russian World Number 21 Karen Khachanov upset Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas to seal his passage to the semifinal of ATP Rotterdam Open on Friday.

Stefanos Tsitsipas wilted under Karena Khachanov squeeze to lose the first set


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As was widely anticipated, there wasn’t much to separate the two players in the early exchanges as both Tsitsipas and Khachanov held serve with a degree of comfort, with the score-line reading 4-4.

However, the Greek’s serve was put under the squeeze in the ninth game of the opening set and wilted as the 21st-ranked Russian brought up a breakpoint opportunity and cashed in on it to go 5-4.

Khachanov then played out a flawless service game to one set up.

Needing to recalibrate and plot a quick comeback, Tsitsipas came out all guns blazing in the second set, pummeling winners past the Russian and putting the pressure back on his serve.

Late fightback not enough for Karen Khachanov, as Stefanos Tsitsipas Took the Second Set 6-3

It didn’t take long for the momentum to shift as the World Number 6 broke the Russian’s serve and ran up a 5-0 lead in what seemed next to no time.

However, just when it seemed that the Greek would run away with the second set, Khachanov managed to hold serve and reduce the deficit to 1-5.

In a stunning turnaround, the Russian stepped up the heat on Tsitsipas’ serve in the next game and brought up another breakpoint.

Even as the Greek tried to draw level, made full use of his opening to get a break back on Tsitsipas.

Even as the momentum shifted back and forth, the Russian looked to reduce the deficit to 3-5 with another service hold. He ran up a 40-15 lead and managed to close out the game without too much fuss.

With another opportunity to serve out the set, Tsitsipas was up 40-0 in no time and managed to close out the second set 6-3.

Looking to press on with the momentum, the Greek looked to put early pressure on the Russian’s serve. He leveled the score to deuce, hoping to come away with an early break.

However, Khachanov reeled off two straight points from deuce to close out the opening game of the final set.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 13, 2021 Russia’s Karen Khachanov in action with Italy’s Matteo Berrettini during his third round match REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Wary not to be down a break early in the deciding set, Tsitsipas played out a near-flawless service hold to go 1-1.

The squeeze was on the Russian serve again, as the score-line in the next game read 30-30. It went to deuce before Khachanov won two straight points to hold.

The 6’6″ Russian put the heat back on the Greek’s serve in the next game, going up 30-40. However, Tsitsipas pulled it back to deuce.

Khachanov brought up his ninth breakpoint and cashed in big time to go 3-1 in the decider. Put to a severe test, the Tsitsipas serve couldn’t hold strong.

Looking to break back, Tsitpas took the next game to deuce and brought up the sixth breakpoint. However, the Russian pulled back to deuce.

An epic third set before Karen Khachanov blinks first, concedes decisive break to Stefanos Tsitsipas

After a nerve-wracking exchange, the Greek managed to score another breakpoint and converted it to reduce his deficit to 2-3.

Serving to draw level in the final set, Tsitsipas held comfortably to even it up at 3-3. It was a key opening in the game that the Russian couldn’t capitalize on.

The Greek went hard for another break of serve in the next game, but Khachanov managed to serve it out to go 4-3 clear.

Tsitsipas responded with a comfortable service hold to draw level at 4-4. The Greek’s attempt to press the Russian for a break came a cropper as the latter held on to extend his lead to 5-4.

Tsitsipas played out a flawless hold in his next service game to go even at 5-5.

Desperate for a decisive break of serve, Tsitsipas opened up a 0-30 lead on the Russian’s serve. He then brought up his eighth breakpoint and made full use of it to go 6-5.


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Serving for the match, Tsitsipas put the epic three-setter to a close, winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.







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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.