Stefanos Tsitsipas ends Miami holiday by grinding past Cristian Garin

Stefanos Tsitsipas lift off

Stefanos Tsitsipas finally played his first match at the Miami Open as he won his third round clash with Chilean qualifier Cristian Garin.

Tsitsipas held off a spirited fightback from Garin to register a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win and move into the last 16.

Having one just one of his three matches on the ATP Tour, Tsitsipas got a walkover through the second round after Richard Gasquet was forced to withdraw with injury.

A shoulder injury has plagued his season and Tsitsipas had suggested he was still troubled by it at Indian Wells.

He would not reveal if he was still suffering any ill effects but would proclaim his delight at ending his Miami holiday.

“I was waiting for a very long time to get out and play,” Tsitsipas said. “It has almost felt like a vacation this past week, staying in Miami.

“I’m glad I got started. It was a difficult match against an opponent who has played good tennis against good opponents in the past.

“I am happy with the way things turned around and my confidence towards the end. I had an eye-on-the-prize attitude and it was effective with how I played in the last game when he was serving.”

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When it comes to how the shoulder feels now, Tsitsipas said he was delighted to be getting better without indicating whether or not he felt at 100 percent.

“I am just going to enjoy this victory,” Tsitsipas said when quizzed about the injury.

“It has been a difficult road to healing in the past few weeks, but I am happy that things are getting better.”

Tsitsipas’ rustiness was on display inside Hard Rock Stadium in flashes, with the second seed making 21 unforced errors as Garin chased his sixth win in seven matches. Nevertheless, the world No 3  found a way to turn the match around again, looking the fresher of the two at the close of the third set to claim his 14th win of the season after 124 minutes.

Tsitsipas lost in the round of 16 in 2022, going down to eventual winner Carlos Garcia.

He will take on Karen Khachanov in the last 16 after the Russian dispatched Czech Jiri Lehecka 6-2, 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the Miami Open for the first time.

Khachanov lost the last meeting between the two which came in the Australian Open semi-finals.

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