Cincinnati | Tsitsipas to face Coric for title

On the eve of his semi-final of the Western & Southern Open, the Cincinnati Masters, Stefanos Tsitsipas promised to let his ‘tennis do the talking’ in what was his tenth meeting with Daniil Medvedev, the world No.1 to whom he had already lost seven of their previous clashes.

A few short balls I really took advantage of and came in. A lot of courageous serve and volleys, approaches to the net that definitely gave me that great win today. Stefanos Tsitsipas

And that is what the Greek world No.5 did — and in the process, dented Medvedev’s preparation for the defence of his only major, the US Open, which starts a week on Monday, and boosted his own as he chases his first at major level.

Tsitsipas’s all-court game proved too much for Medvedev who couldn’t find an answer to his rival’s 36 net approaches and was subsequently beaten 7-6(6) 3-6 6-3 after two-hours and 23-minutes for only his third loss to the Greek fourth seed.

“There were some difficult shots I had to play a bit more,” a delighted Tsitsipas said while acknowledging his game plan. “A few short balls I really took advantage of and came in. A lot of courageous serve and volleys, approaches to the net that definitely gave me that great win today.”

There was a certain loss of concentration by both parties in the second set, especially Tsitsipas who, despite saving a set point in the first and claiming the opener, found himself trailing 0-5 in the second but Medvedev failed to close it out as he slowly clawed himself back into the set to the frustration of Medvedev who in turn, only just managed to hang on to his lead when he saved three break points in the ninth game.

Tsitsipas though, had regained some momentum despite dropping the second set, to produce another high-quality decider to match his opening set.

“I knew I had to sign up for a difficult task, third set, it wasn’t going to be easy,” Tsitsipas admitted post-match. “He made it very physical and really demanding for me. I just took advantage of some of his missed first serves. I think I had a couple opportunities where it seemed to be going towards to my side.”

Tsitsipas claimed the lone break point of the final set in the sixth game, courtesy of a Medvedev double fault, and calmly served out the match to love with some strong net play.

Medvedev, who hadn’t dropped a set all week, couldn’t rely on his serve which was only 49% effective, delivering 11 double faults whilst only managing 2 aces against Tsitsipas’ 66% first serves, 4 aces and 7 double faults.

“He kept missing a lot of first serves consecutively and that gave me some time to think of my next move a little bit clearer,” Tsitsipas pointed out. “He gave me a double fault on break point, which I think was very important moment for me psychologically to give my best shot. I was a few games away and I was very calm and concentrated in every single task that was given to me.”

In addition, he dominated the net winning 75% of his volleys whist showing great patience as he built his way into each point. His volleying was superb but on many occasions they were simple put-aways.

His victory could well prove a turning point for the Greek star who hasn’t had the best of results over recent months losing in the third round at Wimbledon and last week in the Canadian Open Masters, in his opener to Britain’s Jack Draper.

In the final Tsitsipas will face the unseeded Borna Coric, a former world No.12 who returned to the Tour last March after a year or so off to undergo shoulder surgery, following his comfortable 91-minute, 6-3 6-4 victory over the British No.1 Cameron Norrie.

The match was delayed for hours by afternoon rain and a preceding long women’s semi-final as Coric admitted: “It was a long day. I didn’t expect to be playing in the evening. It was a crazy day, but it finished very well.”

Coric got past a slow start marred by 14 unforced errors in the first six games, but then settled in to go up a gear and advance to his second biggest final of his career.

The Croat, who lost a Masters final at Shanghai in 2018, limited Norrie to nine winners while sending over 17 of his own along with 24 unforced errors.

“I played extremely well, but in the beginning I was not there,” Coric admitted. “I then found my rhythm and began serving better. That was the key to the match.”

Coric is tied with Tsitsipas 1-1 with his lone win coming in an incredible five sets at the 2020 US Open when the Greek blew six match points.

Borna Coric reaches his second Masters level final

Frey/TPN/Getty Images



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