'Rafael Nadal Made Me Nervous,' Stefanos Tsitsipas Recalls

«Rafael Nadal made me nervous», remembers Stefanos Tsitsipas


Stefanos Tsitsipas played his seventh Masters 1000 event at Toronto 2018. The upcoming star had to put in a lot of effort to get a remarkable result and make a name for himself. Stefanos played at a high level against Dominic Thiem and former winner Novak Djokovic, he never lost serve and faced defending champion Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals.

The German had the match on his hands, opening up a 6-3, 5-2 lead and wasting two match points in the second set tie-break to suffer a 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 defeat on propel Tsitsipas into the last four. Still a teenager, Stefanos became the youngest player with four top-10 wins in a single event since the formation of the ATP Tour in 1990.

The Greek saved another match point in a tight 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 victory over Kevin Anderson. Already racking up enough points to break into the top 20, Tsitsipas played for the Masters 1000 title against Rafael Nadal on his 20th birthday.

After beating four top 10 rivals, Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Rafael Nadal at Toronto 2018.

After a great week, the Greek suffered a 6-2, 7-6 loss to a more experienced player, ending up with second prize and still writing history.

Stefanos had won just three games against Rafa in the title match in Barcelona that April. He couldn’t find the winning formula in Toronto either, as the Spaniard posted victory number 40 of 43 meetings in 2018. Stefanos took 12 points in the second leg.

Some of them came in the tenth game of the second set when he broke to extend the set and at 6-5 when he wasted a set point. It was a wonderful performance from Nadal until 6-2, 5-4, sailing through his service games and dominating with his forehand to gain an advantage from the baseline.

Despite that shaky period in the latter part of the clash, he finished the game with 27 game winners and 20 unforced errors, while Tsitsipas scored 15 accelerating points and 25 errors. Nothing could separate them in the shorter rallies down to four-strokes.

Rafa created the crucial gap in the most challenging exchanges of five to eight shots and those that went to the ninth shot. The Spaniard got off to a strong start, dropping a point in four service games from the opener and securing two breaks in games three and five for 6-2.

Tsitsipas suffered another break in the first game of the second set and left Nadal serving for the title 5-4. After taking just three return points from the start of the duel, Stefanos showed his skills in that tenth game to earn a break in the 30th and prolong the action.

The youngster had a set point at 6-5, and Nadal saved it with a lucky net cord to bring the game home and get a boost before the tie break. The Spaniard claimed it 7-4 with a forehand winner to seal the deal and start a massive celebration.

«I lost to Rafael Nadal in Barcelona. It’s not easy to come back and play another final against him. I was a bit nervous and thinking too much, which was not the case in the previous matches,» said Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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