Stefanos Tsitsipas Australian Open Rafael Nadal

Tsitsipas “needed to fight” in tricky opening round Rotterdam win


Stefanos Tsitsipas admitted that he “needed to fight” after overcoming an in-form Egor Gerasimov in the first round of the Rotterdam Open.

The Greek world number six, seeded second behind Daniil Medvedev in the Netherlands, overcame Gerasimov 7-6 (4) 7-5 in a tight encounter. Gerasimov, ranked number 76 in the world, beat Andy Murray en route to the semi-finals of the ATP 250 event in Montpellier last week and proved a difficult opening opponent.

“I had to play more consistently and also what I increased in the [key] moments was the speed of my ball, which felt kind of floppy before,” Tsitsipas said.

“He had a solid game, he was serving well at times. He wasn’t missing a lot, so it was difficult.

“I think once I put in my head that I needed to fight and I [couldn’t] take [any] single moment for granted, things changed and I felt the confidence.”

Tsitsipas has made a fast start to the 2021 season, reaching the Australian Open semi-finals before losing to Medvedev. The Greek came from two sets down in the quarter-finals to defeat Rafael Nadal in five sets, in arguably the biggest win of his career – and now holds a 7-1 record this season. Tsitsipas plays Polish world number 30 Hubert Hurkacz in the next round.

“We’ve played a lot in the past. He’s a great opponent, he’s been giving me a hard time. It’s a challenge going into that match,” Tsitsipas said.

“He can serve well, he has a great backhand that he can play both cross and down the line, so I think that’s one of his biggest weapons. His forehand, I would say he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes from that side.

“But overall he’s a very solid, very consistent player.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas Australian Open Rafael Nadal
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