Stefanos Tsitsipas received French Open ‘wake-up call’

Shahida Jacobs
Stefanos Tsitispas unmoved
Stefanos Tsitsipas looks on

Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame “a difficult obstacle” in the first-round of the French Open with tennis pundit Mats Wilander saying he received a “wake-up call” during his win over Jiri Vesely.

Fifth seed Tsitsipas initially made a sluggish start as he was broken in the third game of the match, but quickly found his rhythm as he hit back in game 10 and then secured a second break to wrap up the first set. A single break in the second set game him a two-set lead.

However, he then lost his way in the third set as Vesely broke in game 10 to take the match to a fourth set. After the pair shared breaks midway during the fourth set, Tsitsipas then saved four set points in the tie-breaker before finally wrapping up the win on his first match point to secure a 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7) victory.

The Greek has been tipped as a potential winner of this year’s French Open and seven-time Grand Slam winner Wilander feels, although it was far from ideal, it was a “perfect start” for Tsitsipas.

“I think it’s a wake-up call for Stefanos,” he told Eurosport. “‘Hey, I need to be ready to finish matches, don’t allow this to happen again. We did not [expect such a tight match].

“Being up two sets to love and then not closing it out in three sets, and then just in four sets – is that good for your confidence or not?

“He’s through, now he gets a day – maybe even two days – off, so in a way it’s a perfect start. You know what I really like – you can hear that the crowd really enjoys watching Stefanos when he plays.

“He moves so well, he plays so aggressive. Just like he said [afterwards], he needs to go to the ball. It’s difficult on Philippe-Chatrier – it’s a tough court to play on.”

Tsitsipas, who faces Roberto Carballes Baena from Spain in the second round, himself admitted that he feared he would lose the fourth-set tie-breaker, but somehow managed to just “switch on” to stay focused.

“He was a difficult obstacle, I won’t lie,” he said. “He gave me a hard time. I’m happy I overcame it in such a fashion. I was able to bounce back from all those difficulties that were being thrown at me constantly. Today’s win is very important for me.”

The Greek added: “‘Just keep going to the ball’, that’s what I kept telling myself. At times I was not going to the ball, staying still, waiting for it to come to me. So when I took charge, when I said ‘I’m just going for it’, I think that was the moment when I made that switch and won the match.”

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