Monte Carlo | Tsitsipas back on top

It wasn’t an exhilarating final but the previous day’s efforts and results in the semi-finals of the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters, were always going to be difficult acts to follow.

The trinity is even more special than the first or second time. This is an unbelievable win for me. Capturing that win today was nerve-wracking. I really wanted this trinity. I am extremely happy today Stefanos Tsitsipas

Casper Ruud, Norway’s top player, is still chasing one of the bigger titles for his CV having now reached and lost six finals across the Masters and Grand Slam levels as Stefanos Tsitsipas lifted the ‘Coupe de la Ville de Monaco’ trophy for a third time after securing a 6-1 6-4 in 97-minutes.

For the Greek, who has not had the best of seasons having over the last three years slipped down from No.3 in the world to 12, is not surprisingly elated at having turned the corner and, following this result, return into the top 10 at No.7. It is also the first time in a six-year period that the Greek has defeated three top-ten players in the same week and certainly boosts his confidence levels for the French Open, the second Grand Slam of the season, which comes up next month.

Prior to Monte Carlo, Tsitsipas arrived at the Principality having competed in six events in which he won 11 matches including a run to the to the semis of Los Cabos, an ATP 250 event in Mexico, where he was eliminated by Ruud.

On this occasion the Norwegian world No.10 was overwhelmed by his rival but his run in the Principality will also see him rise four places keeping him just ahead of the champion at 6.

Tsitsipas also enters the record books as only the fifth player to win Monte Carlo in the Open era and joins a very select group, namely Rafa Nadal (11) Bjorn Borg (3), Thomas Muster (3), Ilie Nastase (3).

Reflecting on his achievement, Tsitsipas said: “It has been very difficult, so to be back on the podiums, winning tournaments just feels amazing. I am extremely grateful for every person behind this journey.

“The trinity is even more special than the first (2021) or second time (2022). This is an unbelievable win for me. Capturing that win today was nerve-wracking. I really wanted this trinity. I am extremely happy today.

“I had to go out there and show my tennis as I promised every single one of [my team] I will make the most out of it. I am glad I presented on court and showed some ruthless tennis.

“From the beginning to the end, my play was cohesive and I was able to blend in a lot of different shots.”

Meanwhile, Ruud hailed his fellow 25-year-old: “I’d like to congratulate Stef for winning Monte Carlo once again. You love this tournament. Very, very well played all week.

“I know you fell out of [the] top 10 a few weeks ago but you’re back again where I think you belong. You’re a fantastic player and especially on clay and Monte Carlo. Congratulations to you and your team.”

In many ways there was little to choose between the two finalists but it was Tsitsipas who came out of the blocks quicker and even before Ruud had time take a second breath, the Norwegian was broken in the third game to then find himself trailing 3-1 before going down a double break as the errors from Ruud mounted resulting in him losing the first set after just 36-minutes.

He needed a good start in the second and managed that, hanging on to the rampant Greek who was not only building in confidence, but applying continual pressure with his serve and volley tactics. Even so, the Greek No.1 had to save eight break points in that set to prevent his rival from getting into the match properly.

At the end of the day his 23 winners and his stubborn resistance over the later stages of the final, saw him through on his first match point for the 11th title of his career.

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud pose with their respective trophies

(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)



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