At the ATP Finals In the Group London 2020 the defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas avenged the defeat suffered on his first match by beating Andrey Rublev 6-1 4-6 7-6 (6) and thus condemning the Russian to elimination. At thenumber 8 in the world, who he wasted a match point in the decisive tie-break even with a double fault, beating Thiem in the last Round Robin match would not be enough to pass the round.
Tsitsipas, who this season had already beaten today's rival in the quarterfinals of the Roland Garros, will instead play a place in the semifinal with Rafael Nadal, in the decisive match scheduled the day after tomorrow.
Twelve months ago, still in the third round of the Round Robin, Rafa and Stefanos already became protagonists of an extraordinary battle, won by the Spaniard in the third and decisive set: a success as much fought as it was useless, given that he did not avoid the elimination at 20 times Slam champion nor prevented Tsitsipas from continuing in the adventure that would later give him the title of Master.
The first set is an authentic monologue of the Greek, who collects the most comfortable of 6-1 in just 20 minutes of the game. As the score suggests, the reigning champion is almost perfect in every phase of the game, with just two free matches on the scoresheet, while practically nothing works in Rublev's tennis, starting from the service.
The music changes, however, in the second set, when the Russian finally finds the support of the first and takes home the first two rounds in less than a minute. Rublev recomplies his life in the seventh game, in which he concedes two very dangerous break points with two serious backhand errors, but in both cases he is good at saving himself (in particular, the crossed backhand on the line with which he cancels the second opportunity is splendid of break).
After 55 minutes of perfection, Tsitsipas suddenly collapses: in a set in which he had granted the proverbial crumbs to the serve, the Greek goes to serve to lengthen the partial but suffers a sensational break to zero, the son of aggression in response to Rublev but also and above all the hesitations and mistakes of the number 6 in the world.
The bad news for Tsitsipas arrives again at the opening of the third set: on 1-1, the Greek is in fact canceled by another five break points by a Rublev who does not miss anything in the important points and throws only winners.
We then proceed in the wake of the services until the 12th game, when Tsitsipas, again called to serve to lengthen the set (in this case also the match), goes into confusion and finds himself below 0-30: this time, however, the reigning champion finds the help of the first in time of need, and with four consecutive points he manages to force the game to the decisive tie-break.
Here the number 6 in the world gets a mini-break advantage twice, then misses a little straight passerby and sends the opponent to match point, but he commits a bloody double fault. It is the turning point of the match: reassured by the gift of the Russian, Tsitsipas breaks his serve again with a great inside-out forehand and then closes at 8-6 thanks to a forehand error by Rublev, giving himself the challenge from inside or outside. with Nadal.