‘He really surprised me!’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas topples tricky Alex de Minaur to stay on track in Rotterdam
Stefanos Tsitsipas powered past world number 34 Alex de Minaur in straight sets to equal his run at last year’s event in Rotterdam by reaching the last four.
The world number four is playing his first event since his semi-final exit to Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open.
After a tricky win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the opening round, Tsitsipas has now downed Ilya Ivashka and de Minaur both in straight sets, winning 6-4, 6-1 then 6-4, 6-4 respectively in those ties, though de Minaur was no easy task today.
“There were moments where I was hitting the ball really hard and [de Minaur] surprised me a few times,’ Tsitsipas admitted following the victory.
“After playing with a lot of intensity and the right footwork, almost hitting the lines back-to-back, he was [still] able to get those balls back.”
While Tsitsipas has plenty of experience at this level, reaching his 12th semi-final at ATP 500 events, the Greek has never actually won a 500 level title.
Of his seven career ATP tour trophies, five have come at 250 level, one at 1000 level in Monte Carlo last year, and one at the ATP Finals in 2019.
Meanwhile, by reaching the semi-finals in Rotterdam he takes on Czech 20-year-old Jiri Lehecka for a place in the final.
“I’m going to have to be well prepared for that match,” Tsitsipas admitted on facing the Czech.
“It’s never easy playing someone who you haven’t faced before.”
Not only is Lehecka appearing in his first ATP 500 semi-final, but only this week made his maiden ATP tour main draw appearance.
That came against world number 12 Denis Shapovalov in the first round where he defeated the Canadian before downing Botic van de Zandschulp and fellow Next Gen talent Lorenzo Musetti to reach the last four.
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