Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev have each lifted a few of the greatest trophies in tennis, from the Nitto ATP Finals crown to ATP Masters 1000 glory. However they’ve by no means reached a ultimate at Roland Garros, and have but to win a Grand Slam title.
For sixth seed Zverev, expertise may maintain the important thing within the youngest Grand Slam semi-final in over a decade. The conflict between 24-year-old Zverev and 22-year-old Tsitsipas will function the youngest mixed age between semi-finalists since Andy Murray, 22, defeated Marin Cilic, 21, on the Australian Open in 2010. It’s also the youngest Roland Garros semi-final since 22-year-old Nadal defeated 21-year-old Djokovic right here in 2008.
The German has additionally been knocking on the door of a serious breakthrough for some time now, and he has the psychological edge of getting been to a Grand Slam ultimate final 12 months on the US Open (l. Thiem). Zverev owns a 1-1 win-loss document in Grand Slam semi-finals, whereas Tsitsipas has but to go previous this stage on three events.
Zverev additionally has extra expertise in combating for – and clinching victory in – the largest matches on the ATP Tour than his opponent, evidenced by his 17 tour-level titles, together with 4 ATP Masters 1000s. Three of these have come on clay: on the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in 2017 and the Mutua Madrid Open in 2018 and 2021. Zverev is aware of what it takes to make a breakthrough on the highest degree.
“For a protracted time frame I used to be successful [ATP Masters 1000s], the Nitto ATP Finals, however I could not get fairly deep in Grand Slams,” Zverev mirrored after his quarter-final victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. “I used to be placing bricks on myself. In a manner, I used to be not performing to the extent that I used to be in different tournaments. I used to be not taking part in the identical degree. I used to be very [impatient] with myself.
“Within the Grand Slams, they’re nonetheless a unique animal. Two-week-long match, you play each different day, you play 5 units. It is very completely different. You bought to discover ways to play them… Hopefully I can say that slowly however certainly I am beginning to get the hold of it.”
Zverev received his first assembly towards Tsitsipas in Washington, D.C. in 2018, in addition to his most up-to-date on his strategy to the title in Acapulco this 12 months. However within the interim, Tsitsipas recorded 5 wins in a row to dominate their 5-2 ATP Head2Head (1-0 on clay courts).
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Tsitsipas, the FedEx ATP Race To Turin chief, made his Masters 1000 breakthrough two months in the past on the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters to set himself aside as one of many gamers to beat within the clay-court swing. He added a seventh tour-level trophy to his assortment in Lyon earlier than arriving in Paris.
The Greek has amassed a tour-leading 38 match wins on the season, together with 21 on clay courts, one other tour-leading determine.
“I am taking part in good. That can present by itself,” Tsitsipas assured after his straight-sets win over Daniil Medvedev within the quarter-finals. “I do not suppose there is a participant on the market [in the draw] that thinks they can not win the match. I am fairly certain all of them know they will play nicely.
“In fact I am taking part in [well], and I feel if I maintain repeating the method, maintain repeating the on a regular basis hustle that I put [in], for certain there’s going to be a reward. And why not?”
He has additionally been completely examined all through the fortnight in Paris, however has come out on high every time on the expense of only one set in matches towards Jeremy Chardy, Pedro Martinez, thirty first seed John Isner, twelfth seed Pablo Carreno Busta and World No. 2 Medvedev.
The truth is, the common rating of Tsitsipas’ opponents throughout his earlier 5 matches is 42, whereas Zverev’s is 97 after taking part in qualifier Oscar Otte, qualifier Roman Safiullin, Laslo Djere, Kei Nishikori, and Davidovich Fokina on his strategy to the semi-finals. Zverev can be dealing with his first seeded opponent in Tsitsipas.
In a match that might come all the way down to the best of margins, will or not it’s battle-tested Tsitsipas or zoned-in Zverev who claims the victory – and strikes to inside one match of a Grand Slam breakthrough at Roland Garros?