Stefanos Tsitsipas made one of the biggest victories of his career last night, defeating 5-time champion Rafael Nadal with 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the final of the Mutua Madrid Open.
“It means everything to me, I am very happy today, I played one of my best games this year,” said Tsitsipas. “I’m really happy to compete, I’m in shape, I enjoy tennis with its maximum potential, it’s very nice to play that way, today’s victory is just an incredible feeling.”
It is the second time the Greek champion reaches an ATP Masters 1000 final, after last year’s Rogers Cup, where he had lost to Nadal. Thanks to his victory, the 20-year-old is expected to climb at least at No. 7 in the ATP Rankings, pending his outcome against World No 1 Novak Djokovic in the final.
Nadal until yesterday had won in all their previous meetings between them. Tsitsipas, however, showed no fear of his great opponent, playing aggressively throughout the game and eventually prevailing after two hours and 34 minutes. He has now won eight consecutive games.
“You can not imagine what a relief it is, it’s incredible, I do not want to say that, but I almost felt that I had lost all hope at some point,” said Tsitsipas. “I felt in Toronto when I was playing against him that I was very close and that game gave me a little confidence that I can do it in the future, but then it was too much.” [I am] really glad to have done this and to do it mentally. Winning him on clay makes this victory even more special”
Tsitsipas leads the ATP Tour with 27 victories (27-9) this season and with his triumphs in Marseilles and Estoril, the 20-year-old is one of the four players to record multiple trophies in 2019. Last year, Tsitsipas had lost in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open starting from No. 40 in the world ranking. In today’s great final, he will try to extend his undefeated run against Djokovic to 2-0, since in their first and only encounter so far he had defeated the Serbian in Toronto.
“I have to play in the same way, I have to be mentally prepared for a hard fight, it’s in a very good condition, so it will not be easy. “I must be ready for this fight,” Tsitsipas said. “I’m sure he wants the title as much as I do.”
Nadal was trying to reach the 50th ATP Masters 1000 final, and his ninth final in Madrid. The Spaniard continues to search for his first trophy in 2019.
“I did not have a good feeling today to do the things I wanted to do and that’s all,” Nadal said. “It was clear what I had to do today, but tonight I was not able to do it”
Cover Image: OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP / GETTY IMAGES