(August 11, 2018) TORONTO – Another day, another top 10 victory for Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated Kevin Anderson 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(7) in two hours and 48 minutes to reach the final. It is the fourth top 10 victory for the young Greek who will turn 20 on Sunday. Tsitsipas was a promising young junior, but was still largely playing the Challenger circuit to finish the 2017 season. His impressive run this week has surprised everyone, including Stefanos himself.
This will be Tsitsipas‘ second career final at the tour level, losing earlier in the year in Barcelona to Rafael Nadal. The Greek has been backed by a significant and loud Greek fan base during the week and even said after the match that the court was beginning to feel like Greektown. “I’m playing amazing. I’m enjoying it more than ever out on the court with the crowd. It’s been the key factor. They have helped me so much to win all those matches. It feels like I’m playing Davis Cup and everyone is backing me up and they’re so supportive.“ Coincidentally, Greektown in Toronto is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its annual Greek food festival, Taste of the Danforth.
Tsitsipas was excited to talk about how he is feeling about his game, and mentioned staying aggressive and having his forehand do a majority of the work for him.
“It feels like I’m never losing it. I’m always there. It doesn’t matter what the score. I’m always going to attack. I’m always going to go to the ball, maybe even approach after my shot. And I feel like my forehand is on fire at this moment. Hopefully it can remain like this tomorrow because it will be super important for me, the win tomorrow. “
Later in the night, it was business as usual for Rafael Nadal who has been the main attraction of the week with Andy Murray and Roger Federer missing and Novak Djokovic losing early. He defeated first time Masters semifinalist Karen Khachanov 7-6(3), 6-4 in match that finished just after midnight due to a light rain delay earlier in the evening.
“He’s a great server,” the Spaniard said in regard to his opponent. “Big shot from the baseline. He has especially great backhand and he can hit the forehand very strong too.
“It’s true with the forehand sometimes he have mistakes too, but he plays very aggressive and he hit the ball very strong, no?
“I need to resist and play aggressive. When I was able to move him, I think I was a little bit more on the control. But it’s difficult to make that happen because he hit the ball very strong.”
“Tomorrow is an important match,” said Nadal. “But anyway, and I think I am happy tomorrow that I am satisfied with the week, no? Arriving here for me it was difficult to imagine that I going to be in the final one week and a half after, no?
“So great news. Happy about everything. Of course I can play little bit better, but that’s the work of every day. And all the matches helps to improve my game, and I believe that I can do it.
“I did a lot of things well in the whole season. Tomorrow is a day to play a great match against a very tough opponent. And I hope to be ready for it.”
What does the 17-time major champion need to do against the youngster Tsitsipas? –
“He’s a complex player. He has everything. He’s young. Has passion for the game. He has a great forehand, great backhand, good serve. So he’s not about one thing. He’s about everything.
“These kind of matches you need to play very well to win, and that’s what I’m going to try.”
The men’s final at the Rogers Cup in Toronto is scheduled for 4pm Eastern time Sunday.
All photos by Nida Alibhai.