Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas enjoyed playing his opener in Lyon as he made a good start to his campaign at the tournament. Tsitsipas, who recently won it all at the Monte Carlo Masters, had a first round bye in Lyon.
On Thursday, Tsitsipas started his Lyon campaign with a comfortable win as he handed a 6-1 6-4 loss to American Tommy Paul. "I had a great time today out on the court with the [crowd], we were able to create a nice atmosphere,” Tsitsipas said in an on-court interview.
“I felt a lot of love and support in the difficult moments, so I want to give them the best from my tennis”. Paul served out the second game of the first set to level the set at one game apiece, before Tsitsipas earned back-to-back breaks and claimed five consecutive breaks to easily win the opener.
Tsitsipas then converted his fourth break point of the third game to take a 2-1 lead in the second set. Paul saved a break point in the fifth game but he was unable to earn any break points as Tsitsipas routinely held on to his serve to seal the win.
Tsitsipas set to face Yoshihito Nishioka
Tsitsipas will be battling Japanese Nishioka for a place in the Lyon semifinal. On Thursday, Nishioka recovered from a set down to beat home favorite Gael Monfils 4-6 6-3 7-6 (2).
Monfils blew an early first set but broke Nishioka for the second time in the seventh game and then held on to his serve the rest of the set to claim the opener. However, Nishioka responded as he broke Monfils in the fourth game of the second set and then held on to his serve the rest of the set to force a decider.
Monfils recovered from a break down in the third set to force a tie-break but he fell short in his attempt to complete a comeback as Nishioka dominated the Frenchman in the tie-break. “He is a player who is very fast, and I think that helps on clay,” Tsitsipas said of Nishioka.
“He has clay-court tennis, so for sure I am going to take that match as an important one. “I feel like I'm playing good tennis and I can play against anyone. For me, these matches are important, every single one of them. It’s going to be a battle against Yoshihito who is a lefty, on red clay which is my favourite surface”.