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Tsitsipas beats Zverev to reach French Open final – as it happened

sportsman

Active member
The 22-year-old from Athens emerged victorious from a titanic battle to become the first Greek tennis player in history to reach a Grand Slam final



6.02pm BST


6.00pm BST

The next semi-final: Tsitsipas was commendably humble in victory and came across as a very likeable young man. He’ll face one of the comparatively geriatric Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in the final. You can follow the action in their semi-final here ...

5.48pm BST

Stefanos Tsitsipas speaks: “All I can think of is my roots, where I came from,” he says, talking through salty tears. “My dream was to play here, to play on the big stage of the French Open some day. I would have never thought that I would.

“It was nerve-waracking, it was so tense,” he says of the first game of the fifth set, when he saved three break points. “I think it was the most important game of the fifth set. I came back, I stayed alive, the crowd were behind me, cheering me on. They were giving me their energy. I still felt like there was hope and opportunities for me to fight back. Your only job is to go out and fight and that’s what I did. It was very difficult, very emotional.”

5.42pm BST

Tsitsipas is through to the French Open final: He shakes hands with his friend and rival Sascha Zverov, who deserves immense credit for his contribution to a titanic game. There are a few tears of happiness on the 22-year-old victor’s face.

5.40pm BST

Stefanos Tsitsipas wins 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3: Tsitsipas digs himself a little hole, losing the first point but rallies brilliantly in the subsequent ... eh, rally: 15-15. Having drawn him to the net with a drop shot, Zverev blows a great opportunity to lob him on point three, sending the ball a few inches too long. Tsitsipas wins the next point too to give himself two match points. He only needs one of them, winning the match with an ace and raising his hands in the air in triumph after a terrific tennis match.

5.35pm BST

Fifth set: *Zverev 3-5 Tsitsipas (sets: 2-2): The opening points are exchanged and a cracking forehand from Tsitsipas forces Zverev to hook a backhand wide: 15-30. He pulls another forehand long to give his opponent two match points at 15-40.

He saves the first with an exocet of a serve and the second with a wonderful backhand sliced drop-shot: deuce. It’s advantage and another match point from Tsitsipas as Zvereve sends the ball into the net, but he saves that one too with another booming serve.

5.24pm BST

Fifth set: Zverev 2-5 Tsitsipas* (sets: 2-2): The Greek, aiming to be the first from his country to make it to a Grand Slam final, doesn’t blink, holding to 15. Zverev is serving to stay in the match.

5.21pm BST

Fifth set: *Zverev 2-4 Tsitsipas (sets: 2-2): The momentum has swung the way of Tsitsipas but Zverev digs in, takes advantage of the new balls and holds his serve to 15, adding to his tallies of both double-faults and aces along the way. Over to you, Stefanos ...

5.16pm BST

Fifth set: Zverev 1-4 Tsitsipas* (sets: 2-2): Tsitsipas sends a backhand long from the base line to find himself 15-30 down as he attempts to consolidate his position. He restores parity immediately courtesy of an unforced error from Zverev, who sends the ball long on the next point. Tsitsipas serves out with an ace to hold.

5.13pm BST

Fifth set: *Zverev 1-3 Tsitsipas (sets: 2-2): Zverev sends a loose shot wide and it’s 30-30, as Tsitsipas continues to win the points duked out over longer rallies. A backhand block gives the Greek break point, rousing the crowd and he pumps the air with his fist as Zverev finds the net with a backhand in the next rally. He has the break!

5.09pm BST

Fifth set: Zverev 1-2 Tsitsipas* (sets: 2-2): A brilliant forehand to the corner puts Tsitsipas 30-0 up and is followed by a similarly sublime forehand to make it 40-0. Zverev is unable to return his final serve of the game despite getting his racquet on the ball.

5.06pm BST

Fifth set: *Zverev 1-1 Tsitsipas (sets: 2-2): Zverev serves his eighth ace of the match as he races into a 40-0 lead. He sends a forehand long to make it 40-15 and is then beaten by a Tsitsipas forhand down the line that makes it 40-30. He eventually holds, forcing Tsitsipas to drive the ball into the net from the back of the court.

5.02pm BST

Fifth set: Zverev 0-1 Tsitsipas* (sets: 2-2): You’d probably put your 50p on Zverev winning this one-set shoot-out at the moment. He’s playing the better tennis and has the momentum. Tsitsipas, in my humble and inexpert opinion, needs to make more forays forwards towards the net.

He loses the first three points of his service game, but rescues the first break point. Then the second. Then the third. He noses in front with a dash to the net to whip a forehand cross-court after a great half-volley from Zverev, who sends his next return of serve into the net. That’s a hugely impressive hold after a terrible start to the game.

4.52pm BST

Fourth set: *Zverev 6-4 Tsitsipas (sets: 1-2): A long rally on the first point ends with Zverev slamming the ball into the net from the base line. He restores parity, winning the stand-out rally of the game with a deft volleyed drop shot from his toes that prompts wild applause from the crowd.

Another booming serve noses him in front on 30-15 and he draws Tsitsipas to the net before lobbing him to give himself two set points. Tsitsipas saves the first but sends a backhand long on the second. It’s all square at two sets apiece and that’s a mightily impressive comeback from the German, who had looked down and out.

4.46pm BST

Fourth set: Zverev 5-4 Tsitsipas* (sets: 1-2): A couple of unforced errors put Tsitsipas on the back foot. He pulls a point back but double-faults only for the umpire to over-rule the line judge who’d called his second serve out. He gets his first serve back – an inexplicable rule – and makes the most of it, then goes 40-30 up and promptly wins the game. Zverev will have to serve out the set.

4.43pm BST

Fourth set: *Zverev 5-3 Tsitsipas (sets: 1-2): Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Tsitsipas gets his racquet to all four of Zverev’s serves but is powerlessless to keep the ball in play in any of the points.

4.39pm BST

Fourth set: Zverev 4-3 Tsitsipas* (sets: 1-2): Tsitsipas wins to love, with the standard of serving from both players phenomenally high at the moment.

4.37pm BST

Fourth set: *Zverev 4-2 Tsitsipas (sets: 1-2): Zverev makes it 18 points in a row on serve to go 30-0 but his winning streak comes to an end when he pulls a fairly routine forehand long from the base line. He follows up with a backhand into the net to give Tsitsipas a glimmer of hope. It’s promptly dashed as Zverev wins consecutive points to take the game and pull two clear in the set.

4.32pm BST

Fourth set: Zverev 3-2 Tsitsipas* (sets: 1-2): A magic backhand drop volley from mid court at 30-0 is the undisputed higlight as Tsitsipas wins his service game to 15. Mind you, it’s hard to see him breaking Zverev the way the German is serving at the moment and he’ll need to do exactly that if he’s to avoid this match going to a fifth set.

4.28pm BST

Fourth set: *Zverev 3-1 Tsitsipas (sets: 1-2): Zverev forces two early errors out of Tsitsipas, who finds the net on the first two points. His failure to follow up a cross court drop shot results in him losing the third point, Zvereve sliding in to slice the ball over the net at a tight angle. He closes out to win another service game to love. He’s now won an incredible 16 points in a row on serve.

4.24pm BST

Fourth set: Zverev 2-1 Tsitsipas* (sets: 1-2): Tsitsipas wins this one to love, settling his jitters and steadying the ship as the set and possibly the match threatened to get away from him.

4.21pm BST

Fourth set: *Zverev 2-0 Tsitsipas (sets: 1-2): Having been the epitome of calm throughout this match, Tsitsipas seems to be losing his cool. He swaps racquets mid-game after the umpire over-rules a line call that had gone in his favour at 30-0 but it doesn’t help him. He loses to love.

4.19pm BST

Fourth set: Zverev 1-0 Tsitsipas* (sets: 1-2): Chapeau, as the French might say, to Zverev for hauling himself back into this semi-final when at one point he looked completely bereft of ideas. He hasn’t changed his approach particularly, but seems a lot more focussed on the job in hand.

Tsitsipis kicks off the fourth set with a double-fault, only his second of the match. He recovers but another excellent forehand down the line from Zvereve takes the game to 30-30 but Tsitsipas passes him with a whipped, rally-handing forehand. Zverev takes the game to deuce then earns himself a break point with an angled forehand from the base line. He converts it as Tsitsipas smashes the ball into the net, proimpting the Greek to go off on a rant at either himself or somebody on his coaching staff. He’s rattled!

4.11pm BST

Third set: *Zverev 6-4 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-2): Zverev begins with an ace and wins the second point with a fluked overhead off the frame off his racquet, for which he apologises to Tsitsipas. He makes it three points in a row to give himself three set points but only needs one of them to catapult himself back into this match.

4.07pm BST

Third set: Zverev 5-4 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): Tsitsipas sallies forward towards the net to win his 15th point out of 18 on forays that far up the court. An incorrect call at 15-15 goes Tsitsipas’s way, prompting an furious reaction from Zvereve, who kicks off at the umpire, saying he thought he was returning a shot that had been called out and didn’t try to get it over the net.

The umpire is not for turning. A furious Zverev wins the next point to make it 30-30, but Tsitsipas, who didn’t get involved in the dispute, serves out to win the game. I think Zverev was a little hard done by there. He needs to serve out the set.

4.01pm BST

Third set: *Zverev 5-3 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-2): Zverev smashes a straightforward backhand from the middle of the court into the net to put himself under early pressure and then doubles his arrears, going 0-30 down. Tsitsipas is unable to return his next serve and is aced by the missile that follows as Zverev restores parity. Another massive serve flies off the tip of Tsitsipas’s racquet and Zvereve wins the following rally with a vicious forehand down the line to keep serve after a dreadful start to the game.

3.56pm BST

Third set: Zverev 4-3 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): Tsitsipas stays in touch in this third set, winning his service game to 15 with ease.

3.53pm BST

Third set: *Zverev 4-2 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-2): A big game from Zverev begins with his fifth double-fault and he goes 0-30 down when Tsitsipas slides across court to beat him with a splendid pass down the line. It’s 15-30 after Tsitsipas misses a sitter and then a mis-hit from the Greek makes it 30-30. Tsitsipas rallies to give himself a break point and pile the pressure on Zverev.

He responds in fine style with a booming 138mph serve to restore parity and make it deuce. Zvereve follows up with another excellent winner, dragging the ball into court by millimetres from out wide, with what looked an impossible forehand. He wins the next point to hold.

3.47pm BST

Third set: Zverev 3-2 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): Both players are drenched in sweat, while Tsitsipas’s white T-shirt and headband are both stained with the brown Roland Garros clay. The Greek gives himself another on-court pep-talk before bamboozling Zverev with another brilliantly executed drop shot en route to holding his serve.

3.43pm BST

Third set: *Zverev 3-1 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-2): Zverev tries to gee up the crowd with some half-hearted gesticulations en route to holding his serve to 15 and making it three games on the spin.

3.38pm BST

Third set: Zverev 2-1 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): At 30-30 it’s a massive point on Tsitsipas’s serve but a bad bounce of the ball prompts the Greek to send a forehand wide. He pulls another one six inches wide to give Zverev the break of serve in what could be a huge turning point in this match.

3.34pm BST

Third set: *Zverev 1-1 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-2): The game goes to deuce courtesy of more unforced errors from Zverev, who looks a beaten docket. He keeps looking to his father, who is powerless to help him from his seat. Zverev does keep it together to hold serve and get back on the scoreboard.

3.27pm BST

Third set: Zverev 0-1 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-2): Tsitsipas makes another foray to the net to make it 30-30 with a sliced volley that leaves Zverev marooned at the baseline. He wins the next twqo points, the second with a wonderful passing shot down the line, to make it seven games in a row.

“For a long period of time I was winning ATP Masters 1000s, the Nitto ATP Finals, but I couldn’t get quite deep in Grand Slams,” Zverev said after his quarter-final win. “I was putting bricks on myself. In a way, I was not performing to the level that I was in other tournaments. I was not playing the same level. I was very [impatient] with myself.

3.21pm BST

Second set: *Zverev 3-6 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): Zvereve sends a couple of forehands wide from the baseline to make it 30-30. Another sloppy error gives Tsitsipas set point, which Zverev saves with a smash from the T. He concedes another set point with a backhand into the net then sends another forehand drifting wide of the right tramlines to go two sets down. He’s in big trouble.

3.15pm BST

Second set: Zverev 3-5 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-1): Tsitsipas wins his service game to 30, even managing to win a point despite his racquet slipping from his hand during one serve.

3.11pm BST

Second set: *Zverev 3-4 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): Tsitsipas covers some serious ground to go 0-30 up with a wonderful drop volley at the net. Zverev pulls a point back but Tsitsipas spanks another unreturnable volley from the net to give himself two break points. Zverev saves the first but goes wide off the net-cord to end a long rally on the second. He’s lost four games in a row now and Tsitsipas is back in control of the match.

3.06pm BST

Second set: Zverev 3-3 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-1): Tsitsipas forces Zverev wide time and again, opening up large sections of the court into which he fires his winners. He takes the game to 40-30 and closes out with a final booming serve that Zverev is unable to return to level proceedings in the second set.

3.02pm BST

Second set: * Zverev 3-2 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): Zverev hits a forehand long to make it 30-30 and open the door for Tsitsipas, who sticks his head through it after Zverev goes wide off the net-cord. It’s break-back point but Zverev saves it. He proceeds to whip a forehand wide to give Tsitsipas another break point and then sends a lazy backhand wide to let the Greek back in to the set.

2.56pm BST

Second set: Zverev 3-1 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-1): Tsitsipas gets back on the scoreboard in this second set with no fuss whatsoever.

2.52pm BST

Second set: *Zverev 3-0 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): A couple of poor backhand efforts from Tsitsipas, followedf by a rubbish forehand prompt the Greek to give himself a good talking to at 40-30. He wins the subsequent point to make it deuce. Tsitsipas doesn’t appear to dwell on his mistakes as long as his opponent but on this occasion loses the game after Zverev gets a lucky bounce off the net cord.

2.48pm BST

Second set: Zverev 2-0 Tsitsipas* (sets: 0-1): Zverev is standing way, way back each time he receives Tsitsipas’s first serves, so much so that he’s almost in line with the judges at the back of the court. It’s making his occasional forays to the net a lot longer in distance but he shows an impressive turn of foot to get up to force an error from the Greek, who volleys into the net to go 15-30 down. It goes to 30-40 and Zverev has his first break point of the match. A long forehand from Tsitsipas is an inch too long and Zverev roars in triumph.

2.43pm BST

Second set: * Zverev 1-0 Tsitsipas (sets: 0-1): Another ace from Zverev, who shows no obvious psychological effects of going a set down as he wins the opening game of the second set to love.

2.39pm BST

First set: Zverev 3-6 Tsitsipas*: Tsitsipas sends a tight backhand into the net to make it 30-30 but takes the game to set point. A wide forehand from the baseline takes the game to deuce, prompting some excitement and applause in the stands but he closes out the set with a minimum of fuss.

2.34pm BST

First set: * Zverev 3-5 Tsitsipas: Zverev changes racquets for the new balls, which he shows to his opponent for reasons that remain a mystery to me and I’ve been watching or playing tennis for 40 years. I hasten to add, I haven’t played in about 28 years, apart from one ill-advised knockabout with a bloke who was much better than me about 12 months ago.

Meanwhile back in the match you actually game here to read about, Zverev double-faults to make it 40-30 but holds his nerve to close out the game with a serve that the speed gun clocks at 136mph .

2.29pm BST

First set: Zverev 2-5 Tsitsipas*: An uncharacteristically long rally ends with our first through-the-legs from the baseline shot of the match from Zverev, but the ball sails long after some excellent net play by Tsitsipas. He wins another long rally and the game when Zverev shanks a cross-court backhand wide. The German must keep serve to stay in the set.

2.25pm BST

First set: *Zverev 2-4 Tsitsipas: Zverev’s booming serve (one clocked at 139mph) wins him his second game of the match to love.

2.22pm BST

First set: Zverev 1-4 Tsitsipas*: Tsitsipas is pummeling Zverev’s forehand and the unforced errors are coming thick and fast. There have been eight so far and the Greek wins this game to love.

2.19pm BST

First set: *Zverev 1-3 Tsitsipas: There are 5,000 people allowed in the stands of Court Philippe Catrier today but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere near that number in attendance yet. Perhaps they’re all enjoying a long lunch.

After several double-handed backhands, a quick shuffle of the feet and long forehand towards the corner from the baseline makes it 30-15 to Zverev but he pulls a subsequent forehand high and long. It’s a very nervy start from the German but Tsitsipas responds in kind on the next point. Zverev gets on the scoreboard.

2.14pm BST

First set: Zverev 0-3 Tsitsipas*: A delightful cross-court backhand drop shot is the highlight of a game in which Tsitsipas extends his lead and is also warned for taking too long to take his serve. Another warning and he’ll lose the right to a first serve on that point.

2.09pm BST

First set: *Zverev 0-2 Tsitsipas: The first double-fault of the game comes on Zvereve’s second service point and is quickly followed by the second. It’s been a bit of a problem for him in this tournament. Tsitsipas wins the next rally for two break points but Zverev replies with an ace. A forehand error results in him losing his serve.

2.06pm BST

First set: Zverev 0-1 Tsitsipas*: Tsitsipas serves first, wearing a white headband and T-shirt and purple shorts. Zverev receives wearing a black headband and tank-top. He also wears purple shorts.

Tsitsipas wins the first two points but is pegged back to 30-30 and takes it to 40-30 when Zverev slashes a wild cross-court forehand wide. It goes to deuce, then advantage Tsitsipas when Zverev goes wide off the net-cord. Game Tsitsipas after a heavy volley from his rival goes wide of the umpire’s chair.

1.54pm BST

Not long now: Sascha Zverev is first out on to the court, followed soon afterwards by his opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek has the edge on his German rival in head-to-heads and has one five of their seven encounters.

1.52pm BST

1.50pm BST

1.46pm BST

On the day a slightly more high profile tournment kicks off in Europe, it’s Germany taking Greece in the first of today’s men’s singles semi-finals. For all their successes, neither Sasha Zvereve nor Stefanos Tsitsipas has ever won a Grand Slam title and whoever wins today will go on to contest their first ever French Open final on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Novak Djokovic or Rafa Nadal, who play later today, will be waiting.
 
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