Stefanos Tsitsipas takes positives from grueling battle with Dominic Thiem

Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas came through an intense battle with Dominic Thiem 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), stringing together an incredible sequence of first serves to finish.

Tsitsipas chose to focus on that run to finish rather than the misfiring start to the match.

Thiem had started brightest and troubled Tsitsipas with his heavy cuts from his forehand wing.

Tsitsipas wouldn’t be going down easy though and he quickly levelled matters before a tense final set went down to the wire.

“That’s fantastic, 39 is a lot,” Tsitsipas said of the streak of first serves.

“That shows that perhaps I improved today on my serve. That’s a positive mark for me. I think I just owe it all to fluidity and just being relaxed on my serve… I think it’s just pure relaxation and focus.”

Tsitsipas improved to 4-5 in the rivalry with Thiem, a record that shows why he was wary of the Austrian.

“It was very physical and I think we both played our best,” Tsitsipas said of his opening win against Thiem.

“I’m in a way happy that we were able to show that kind of tennis… Today sort of showed what kind of intensity two guys that play single-hand backhands can bring to tennis. I’m happy I got away with a win. Things weren’t easy at the very end but I just kept fighting.”

Tsitsipas insisted that he always had faith that his game could get him through.

As Thiem’s forehand started to struggle in the second set, Tsitsipas took control, securing his lead with a barrage of perfectly timed drop shots.

With the match on the line, both players played some of their finest tennis in Thiem’s penultimate service game, which helped him maintain the lead throughout the final set. Thiem survived after five doubles and more over 11 minutes. However, Tsitsipas won four straight games to take a 5/3 advantage in the tie-break and win on his second match point.

“I had confidence in my tennis and I knew that bit by bit I would be able to fight back,” Tsitsipas added of the match as a whole. “My confidence showed in that second set where I was just serving really well and started finding my rhythm on the returns. The third set it was just pure fight. He’s not someone that’s going to give up and he hates even giving the slightest to you in terms of free points.

“I knew I was dealing with something big and that tie-break, it was just pure cash.”

READ MORE: ‘Rafael Nadal is always one of the favourites if he reaches the second week at Roland Garros’

Latest