PARIS (Reuters) – Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the second time as he brushed aside Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 7-6(9) 6-2 at the French Open on Monday.
The Greek fifth seed was solid on serve throughout and played neatly as his Bulgarian opponent lost focus at crucial times under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.
Last year’s ATP Finals winner Tsitsipas, whose best result at a major is reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in 2019, will next face Russian 13th seed Andrey Rublev, with a last-four clash with world number one Novak Djokovic looming.
“I felt comfortable. Playing Grigor… he can be unpredictable so coming into the match you don’t know what to expect,” said Tsitsipas.
“We have a similar style of play so I knew if I could be as aggressive as possible and use my forehand and my serve I knew my opportunities would come.
“My aggressiveness on return games and my focus on important points made the difference.”
The 22-year-old raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set. Eighteenth seed Dimitrov went up a gear at 5-3, only to see three break points saved by Tsitsipas, who served it out to take the set.
The Greek had the upper hand in the second set, creating three break chances while comfortably holding serve. Tsitsipas won a tiebreak after saving two set points.
“The tiebreak was where all the money went. I tried to take it point by point, I showed a lot of discipline. It was a very responsible win in the second set,” said Tsitsipas, who had a medical time out for an irritated left eye.
Being two sets down looked too big a mountain to climb for Dimitrov, who buried a volley into the net to hand his opponent the first break in the third set.
The black-clad Greek went on to wrap up a straightforward win on Dimitrov’s serve.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Chopra)