Stefanos Tsitsipas news: Czech qualifier gives Greek star Rotterdam scare

ATP Tour
Joy for Stefanos Tsitsipas after a win

Czech qualifier Jiri Lehecka took the first set off of Stefanos Tsitsipas before the World No 4 found his feet and claimed a place in the Rotterdam final.

Tsitsipas claimed a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win to continue his pursuit of an eighth tour title at the ATP 500 event.

The Greek star admitted to being caught off guard when taking on a player he has never faced before.

Lehecka had upset Canada’s Denis Shopavalov in the opening round before going on a dream run that ended on Saturday.

The 20-year-old was the lowest-ranked Rotterdam semi-finalist since then-World No. 225 Omar Camporese reached the last four way back in 1995.

“He was really pushing me,” Tsitsipas said. “I did not know what to expect, so I was trying to figure out his patterns and his game. He was playing incredibly well after the first serve, pressing and attacking like I had never seen before. I had to stay in the match and I managed to survive.”

Tsitsipas appeared in the last four for the first time since his controversy-filled Australian Open semi-final against Daniil Medvedev.

He has since brought in a new coach in addition to his existing team, as he seeks to mount a serious challenge to the top players in 2022.

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After being wrongfooted early Tsitsipas turned to his own strengths and found himself gaining control of the match.

Tsitsipas will now face either third-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime or World No. 7 Andrey Rublev of Russia in the championship match on Sunday.

It is the first time Tsitsipas has reached the final of a tour-level event since June, when he enjoyed a run to his maiden Grand Slam championship match at Roland Garros.

Tsitsipas is down to enter next week’s Open 13 in Provence, France, but he enjoys a first round bye alongside the other top four seeds.

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