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Tennis-Tsitsipas says chess mindset helped him past Fritz – Metro US

Tennis-Tsitsipas says chess mindset helped him past Fritz

Australian Open
Australian Open

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Stefanos Tsitsipas likened his five-set victory over Taylor Fritz in the Australian Open fourth round to a game of chess on Monday after needing all his powers of concentration to finally outmanoeuvre the hard-hitting American.

The deep-thinking Greek found himself in trouble when he lost the first and third sets but he prevailed 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4 and set up a last-eight clash with Italian Jannik Sinner.

Fourth seed Tsitsipas was out-hit at times but managed to solve the problems Fritz posed with some courageous tennis at the important moments of the match.

So focused on the moment was he that he sometimes got caught out by the shot clock before serving and appeared not to realise he had won the second set.

“It’s just concentrating on building geometrical patterns and the structure of the game, I’m focused on every single ball I hit,” the 23-year-old told Eurosport after the match which finished at gone midnight.

“I’m trying to dictate play, see into the future if I do certain things, what’s the next move? When I play chess I also get lost into the game and its a beautiful thing to be able to zone in so much and be in the present moment.

“It’s like time slows down.”

Tsitsipas soaked up everything Fritz could throw his way in the deciding set in which he made only four unforced errors.

His mental strength came to the fore as Fritz finally buckled, netting a low volley at 4-4 to drop serve.

“The fifth set was the moment of the match where things got really physical and I was ready to be in that physical hustle and put a lot of effort into every single point and make him work for every single point,” Tsitsipas said.

Sinner will be another tough hurdle but, after the doubts at the back end of last year when his elbow required fixing, Tsitsipas believes he is moving in the right direction.

“With the right mindset and with the right attitude and with the right development throughout the tournament, my chances are pretty good,” Tsitsipas said.

Tsitsipas will be attempting to reach the semi-finals for a third time in Melbourne, having done it last year and in 2019. He also reached last year’s French Open final.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon)

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