MONTE CARLO: Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed back-to-back Monte Carlo Masters crowns with a 6-3 7-6(3) pro win over first-time ATP Tour runner-up Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Sunday, claiming his first title of the 2022 season.
Greece’s world number five Tsitsipas’ second Masters 1000 title comes at the perfect time for the 23-year-old, who hopes to improve on his runners-up finish at last year’s French Open and win a maiden Grand Slam title this year . It was the 23-year-old’s eighth ATP title and the first in 11 months.
“Not in a million years would I have thought I would be in the situation I am in today,” Tsitsipas said.
“I’m very proud of the confidence I had in my game.
“He fought in times where I didn’t really expect him to fight and hit some amazing winners. I think it’s a great result against him.
He joins an illustrious list of players who have won back-to-back Monte Carlo Masters, including Rafael Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Thomas Muster and Bjorn Borg.
Tsitsipas, who beat Andrey Rublev in the Monte Carlo final 12 months ago, has now won four clay court tournaments in his career.
Davidovich Fokina knocked out world number one Djokovic earlier this week but couldn’t repeat those feats in his first ATP Finals, losing for the third time in as many encounters with Tsitsipas.
“I always thought about being in the final here one day… I hope to be here again next year,” said Davidovich Fokina, who also reached the quarter-finals last year before retiring. injured after a set against Tsitsipas.
The world number 46 struck on the first Sunday, breaking the third game, but Tsitsipas fought back with a magnificent forehand down the line to level the first set at 2-2.
The set stayed on serve until the eighth game, when Tsitsipas broke as Davidovich Fokina fired a backhand into the tramlines.
The Greek star ended the opener with a love hold, capped off with an ace.
Tsitsipas earned two break points in the first game of the second set and took full control of the final as Davidovich Fokina fired a long spinning baseline shot.
The underdog continued to fight hard, however, falling back in game four as Tsitsipas framed a backhand into the crowd, with 22-year-old Davidovich Fokina waving his arms happily.
But Tsitsipas continued to put the Spaniard under pressure and took his third break point of a marathon game to lead 5-4 and give the chance to serve for the title.
Tsitsipas produced a nervous game, however, and Davidovich Fokina spiked to extend the game.
The second set came in a tie-break, where Tsitsipas took a 5-1 lead with a shot that cut the net cord and landed on the sideline edge.
Davidovich Fokina saved a championship point, but Tsitsipas secured the trophy the second time to ask with a magnificent passing shot after a defiant defense from his side.
On Saturday, Tsitsipas showed no signs of fatigue after Friday’s marathon battle as he edged past Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-4 6-2 to reach the final.
Davidovich Fokina beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3 in an up and down clash earlier.
All eyes, however, were on the Tsitsipas clash against Zverev.
Tsitsipas twice scored a break in the first set but allowed Zverev to return serve in the third and ninth games.
He sealed the set on the German’s serve with a perfect slice. Tsitsipas dominated the second set from the baseline and grabbed a decisive break to go up 4-2 when Zverev’s forehand sailed long.
He won the next game to love before breaking again with a blistering passing shot to wrap up the game in just 75 minutes.
Posted in Dawn, April 18, 2022