Debutant Stefanos Tsitsipas stunned defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals at the 02 in London – and thanked fan power.
I will have to give my all to beat Rafa in my third game. Surpass my limits Stefanos Tsitsipas
The crowd favourite wrote on the courtside camera “assassin creed”. It was more like the smiling assassin in the shape of the 21-year-old.
It was a fourth straight victory for the sixth seed from Greece over an opponent who looked the shadow of the player who overcame Rafa Nadal two days previously.
And the youngest player in the tournament – with the longest hair and broadest smile – oozed excitement as he outclassed his German adversary.
Tsitsipas said: “I’m really surprised by my performance. I did everything right. Once again it was not just me out there a whole bunch of excited people. It was a cool situation. The general public know their tennis. I owe them. Their energy played an important role.
“Fourth win in a row over him? I was playing my game. I had a clear picture, mixing my game to be unpredictable. I’ve been improving my serves in the past months. My team have done a great job. Really enjoy the chemistry I have with them.
“I will have to give my all to beat Rafa in my third game. Surpass my limits.
“There’s been some famous people who have performed at the 02. I saw theit T-shirts hanging there, of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran. Glad I was in locker room where they were.
He wiped Zverev off the court with a game plan which worked to the letter. Tactically astute, he mixed his game up to keep Zverev guessing.
And the seventh seed had no answers beyond trying to utilise his 140mph serve, which did not work as well as it did against world No.1 Nadal.
Tsitsipas was held at 3-3 in the opening set before cruising in front.
And he dominated the second, moving into a 5-1 lead. Nadal had trailed by the same score in his decider against Daniil Medvedev earlier in the day but came through and won.
But Tsitsipas was not about to let Zverev back in and finished off the job in quick time.