Stefanos Tsitsipas is setting new records as far as Greek tennis is concerned, which he is quite happy with and hopes to set many more. His most recent is becoming the first player from his nation to reach the last 16 at a major in 83 years.
More records to break than just thi Stefanos Tsitsipas
The last Greek to make the second round at Roland Garros was Lazaros Stalios in 1936.
“I’m proud, proud to be the first one in Open era probably, if you would call it this way,” he said. “I think there is more than that, in my opinion. More records to break than just this.”
But it wasn’t straightforward as Filip Krajinovic gave him a bit of a scare in their round match before he closed it out 7-5 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(6) which had been suspended overnight from Friday at 5-5 in the third set.
On their return, the Serbian launched a dramatic fightback to get back into the contest which Tsitsipas had been dominating the previous day, by winning the tie break and putting up some stubborn resistance in the fourth before the sixth seed succeed in claiming victory by recovering from a 5-3 deficit and saving a set point.
To continue his journey Tsitsipas now has the formidable task of overcoming the former champion Stan Wawrinka who is fast returning to the sort of form, following knee surgery some months back, that brought him the title in 2015. Success for the Greek 20-year-old would see him reach his second quarter final at grand slam level.
Wawrinka, a three-time grand slam winner, reached the last 16 when he survived a tricky encounter with Grigor Dimitrov, 7-6(5) 7-6(4) 7-6(8).
The 34-year-old Swis, seeded, at 24th, hit 14 aces and 57 winners in what proved a high-quality last-32 clash against former world number three from Hungary.
“It seems like he has found his form, his game. And as we all know, he did quite well at the French Open plenty of times, not just once,” said Tsitsipas of Wawrinka, who also reached the final in 2017.
“He’s a dangerous player. He knows clay very well. He has a big game.”
Reflecting on their forthcoming clash, Wawrinka said: “He (Tsitsipas) is a really young player, already at the top of the game, already winning a lot of matches, already beating the top players, making his way to even better career for a long time,” said Wawrinka who saved five set points in his third set tiebreak.
Meanwhile one of the two title favourites, the world number one and top seeded Novak Djokovic, continues his own journey to win his second career grand slam with a comfortable 6-3 6-3 6-2 win over Italian Salvatore Caruso but should find his next opponent, the un-seeded Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, a tougher prospect.
Struff has ade it into the last 16 by getting past the 13th seeded Borna Coric 4-6 6- 4-6 7-6(1) 11-9.
“Finally, I think I found my best form in the second set,” said Djokovic, who is yet to drop a set in the tournament although his opponents to date, haven’t been too tough to handle. “It’s good, I’m very motivated here at Roland Garros, the most beautiful tournament in the world.”
Djokovic was never in any real trouble against world No 147 Caruso on Court Philippe Chatrier, breaking serve five times in the match and saving all of the five break points he faced.
The 32-year-old finished with eight aces and 25 winners against an outclassed opponent.
Last year’s runner-up Dominic Thiem reached last 16 for the fourth straight year with a four-set win over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.
The Austrian fourth seed dropped the second set to world No 47 Cuevas, but did enough to win 6-3 4-6 6-2 7-5 and set up a fourth-round clash with French favourite Gael Monfils.
German fifth seed Alexander Zverev required another five-setter to reach the last 16 defeating Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-4 6-2 4-6 1-6 6-2.
Zverev, whose best run at a Slam came in Paris last year when he made the last eight, will face Italy’s Fabio Fognini for a place in the quarter-finals.
Argentinian eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro, a two-time French Open semi-finalis, eased past Australian Jordan Thompson and into the second week with a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 6-0 victory.
Del Potro will take on Russian 10th seed Karen Khachanov for a place in the last eight.