BACK IN SEMIS: Stefanos Tsitsipas Ends Daniil Medvedev’s Fairy Tale Run at French Open 2021

Published 06/08/2021, 5:34 PM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 8, 2021 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas reacts during his quarter final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier


In one of the biggest clashes of the year so far in men’s tennis, the French Open 2021 quarter-finals witnessed an enthralling matchup between two athletes with different styles of play – Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Right from their first encounter at the 2018 Miami Open, it was evident that this rivalry will be a treat for tennis fans. But, if one takes a look at their head-to-head record, it doesn’t look good for the Greek as he managed to win just one out of the seven matches the duo played.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 8, 2021 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Watch this story: Toughest Moments of ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal at French Open

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Even on the red dirt, they faced each other at Monte Carlo Masters in 2019. The Russian won the battle in straight sets, 7-6(5), 6-4.

But, Medvedev’s clay-court record isn’t spectacular when compared to Tsitsipas. The Greek won Monte Carlo Masters this year and reached the finals of Barcelona Open, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.

As a result, Tsitsipas entered the match as a favorite. Let’s see how the match progressed.

Stefanos Tsitsipas raced past Medvedev to win the first set, 6-3

Sixteen minutes into the match, the young Greek took a quick lead of 4-1 in the first set. Tsitsipas took advantage of the deep return stance of Medvedev and used repeated drop shots to win a lot of points. The Russian struggled to figure out a way to hit proper returns on the Tsitsipas’ serve.

There were a couple of baseline exchanges, but a large part of the first set was decided by Tsitsipas’ racquet. He was quick in completing his service game without much fuss, and won nearly 85% of points on the first-serve.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 8, 2021 Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his quarter final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

On the other hand, Medvedev was trying to settle into the match before the Greek went berserk. The Russian didn’t have the opportunity to explore the weak backhand return of Tsitsipas. In addition to this, a lot of unforced errors also hurt Medvedev.

All in all, it was a commanding first-set victory by the Greek as he increased his chances of reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros.

Tsitsipas wins a tight battle against Medvedev in the second set

Even in the second set, the Greek’s continued to smother Medvedev by winning a lot of shorter points on both the serve and return games. Apart from the occasional big serves, the Russian didn’t appear to have a solid plan to tackle the aggression of Tsitsipas.

Serving at 3-1 in the second, Medvedev decided to come forward to the net after pushing the Greek way back on the baseline in a couple of shot. The risk paid off as he won both the net points and trailed Tsitsipas by just a game.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 8, 2021 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in action during his quarter final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Medvedev’s slight variation to his game proved helpful as he was able to break the Greek’s next service game to level the set, 3-3. After playing error-free for the first 14 games, the Greek leaked a couple of unforced errors to give away his service game.

It was the Russian’s turn now to use drop shots as a vital weapon to win points. For the first time in the match, Medvedev led Tsitsipas 4-3.

But, the forehand of Tsitsipas, which is his strongest shot, kept hurting the Russian in his next service game. Despite the Greek’s resilience, Medvedev won his service game and the pressure was right back on Tsitsipas.

Having played a lot of clay-court tennis over the past few months, the Greek was able to withhold pressure as he served to stay in the set at 4-5. Even though Medvedev had two set points, the Russian failed to convert any of them, thanks to the Greek’s huge serves.

With both players looking comfortable and applying their strategies, the second set went to a tie-breaker. The Russian was no match to Tsitsipas in the breaker as the latter hit back-to-back winners to take a dominant two sets to love lead against Medvedev.

The Russian’s chances of a maiden semi-final at the French Open began to fade out slowly.

Tsitsipas survived a third-set scare against Medvedev to reach consecutive semi-finals at French Open

In the third set, irrespective of the server, all the games became unpredictable. Having found his range, Medvedev started using an all-round game to counter the aggression of Tsitsipas.

But, the Greek didn’t back down and relied on his first-serves to do the job. Even though Medvedev had four break points in the first few games of the third set, he failed to convert any of them due to a strong clutch game from Tsitsipas.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 8, 2021 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in action during his quarter final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

On the fifth attempt, the Russian finally broke the serve of Tsitsipas, and it looked as if things were finally started to look better for Medvedev. The momentum was clearly with the world number two player as he won a 40-0 service game to take a lead of 4-2 in the set.

Just when it looked like the momentum was with Medvedev, he had a poor service game, which was capitalized by Tsitsipas and leveled the set at 4-4. A quick-fire service hold by the Greek put pressure back on Medvedev’s shoulders.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Serving to stay in the set at 4-5 in the third on court Philippe Chatrier, Medvedev had a brief argument with the umpire over the camera passing the reflector light. The Greek was not happy with the interruption caused due to the argument.

After 2 hours and 19 minutes of intense display of tennis, Tsitsipas had a match point on Medvedev’s serve. A failed under-arm serve led the Greek to hit a backhand passing shot as he reached the semi-finals of Roland Garros for the second time in his career.

Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the French Open.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

“It’s Curfew. Get Outta Here!”: Daniil Medvedev Yells at Workers While They Make Noise During His French Open 2021 Battle Against Stefanos Tsitsipas

3 months ago

 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Sagar Ashtakoula

376 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT