Roland-Garros: Tsitsipas finds a “breath of fresh air” to achieve victory

Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his semi-final match against Alexander Zverev on Matchday 13 of Roland-Garros at Stade Roland Garros. (Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

PARIS – Faced with three save points in the deciding set against Alexander Zverev at Roland Garros on Friday, Stefanos Tsitsipas looked set for another Grand Slam semi-final, but the Greek managed to get out of the hole.

The 22-year-old, seeded fifth, went on the attack and won the next five points to retain serve in the opener of the fifth set after seeing Germany’s Zverev erase his two-set advantage on the Philippe Chatrier court.

These are the last breakpoints on Tsitsipas’ serve as he beats the sixth seed with just one break in the deciding set to secure a top spot in the Grand Slam final after losing three times in the last four steps.

“I’m someone who fights,” the Greek told reporters, when asked about keeping him from 0 to 40. “I wasn’t ready to give up yet.

“I think I did a few good things that worked in my favor. I was still alive. I was still able to come back to the game.

“It was a breath of fresh air, this first game. I felt revitalized. I felt like now was the time to use it to my advantage.

From that point on, Tsitsipas found a way to outsmart heavy hitter Zverev to become the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

He finally finished the three hour and 37 minute match with an ace on his fifth match point.

“It means a lot. It was a difficult game. It was a game full of emotions, full of so many different phases that I went through,” he added.

“So in the end it was such a great relief that I was able to shut it down in such a good way. It was just exhausting. I’m proud of myself.

“I actually like what I do. I like to play in this stadium. I’m obviously just blessed to have the opportunity to play against the best and test myself, something that I’ve always dreamed of and wished would happen someday.

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