‘The Greek God’, Stefanos Tsitsipas, consolidated his lead at the top of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown standings on Saturday with a win over David ‘The Wall’ Goffin, the player he will meet again in a semi-final re-match on Sunday.
I am surprised myself. Let’s keep it going. It feels great. I just need to adjust my game accordingly, nothing to worry about, keep playing aggressive tennis, have everything under my control. I played a few points in practice, that helped me get more awakened. Stefanos Tsitsipas
The young Greek set an 8-1 record among the 10 contestants over the past 5 weekends of play in the south of France.
It was Day 9 of play, and while much of the action would not impact the top four on the leaderboard, it nevertheless provided entertainment and match practice practice for those involved.
It may have all begun with low expectations, but in the last match of the afternoon session, The Greek God raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first quarter, using his ‘winner x3’ card to pull away to 15-4 with an ace.
Goffin clawed his way back to 12-17, but Tsitsipas held on his lead to win the first quarter 18-12.
Tsitsipas took a 13-8 lead in the second when Goffin’s coach Thomas Johansson called a time-out asking the Belgian player to serve and volley on his ‘winner x3’ card but the Belgian could not make the card count, and Tsitsipas took a 2-0 lead.
Both players drew level to 7-7 in a close third quarter.
Tsitsipas used his steal serve card and won both points, the second with a volley off a fine pass.
Goffin tried his ‘winner x3’ card but hit his volley long to blow his chance, allowing Tsitsipas to pull away to a 13-11 lead with 30 seconds to go and the Greek held on to win the the third quarter, 14-11.
In the fourth Tsitsipas took advantage of his ‘winner x3’ card at 14-6 and pulled away to seal it 22-11.
“I am surprised myself. Let’s keep it going. It feels great,” said Tsitsipas. “I just need to adjust my game accordingly, nothing to worry about, keep playing aggressive tennis, have everything under my control.
“I played a few points in practice, that helped me get more awakened.”
Even though Tsitsipas’ UTS journey started off slowly, he raced through this duel to solidify his place with a total of 19 winners to Goffin’s 11, and only 11 errors compared to a whopping 25 from Goffin.
The Greek’s only defeat was at the hands of Dominic Thiem, who dropped out of the UTS with a 3-1 record.
Corentin Moutet defeated Holger Rune in the opening match on Saturday, 3-2, while later fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet defeated yet another player from France, Benoit Paire, 3-1.
The Frenchman won 3-2 in a tight match after going two ahead before Rune mounted a comeback only to be thwarted in the last game, again 3-2.
German’s Dustin Brown won 3-2 against Aussie Alexei Popyrin in the following game after coming down from two frames down to win two on the bounce.
In the day’s final match, Feliciano Lopez defeated Elliot Benchetrit 3-1.
- C Moutet (FRA) beat H Rune (DEN) 3-2: 13-12, 17-12, 8-20, 7-15, [3-2]
- D Brown (GER) beat A Popyrin (AUS) 3-2: 21-10, 13-19, -15-17, 18-11, [4-2]
- S Tsitsipas (GRE) beat D Goffin (BEL) 4-0: 18-12, 16-13, 14-11, 22-11
- R Gasquet (FRA) beat B Paire (FRA) 3-1: 19-9, 13-17, 18-13, 19-10
- F Lopez (ESP) beat E Benchetrit (FRA) 3-1: 16-13, 14-11, 14-13, 11-16