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Tsitsipas continues winning run, enters Barcelona final

By IANS Updated: Apr 25, 2021 1:40 am
Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates his victory over Jannik Sinner of Italy during a semi final Godo tennis tournament in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, April 24, 2021. (PTI)

Barcelona, April 24 (IANS): World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas made it to the final of the Barcelona Open, defeating Italy’s Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 in the ATP 500 event on Saturday.

It was at the same venue three years ago that Tsitsipas had made a major breakthrough, reaching his maiden ATP Tour final.

The reigning Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion saved all four break points he faced to improve his unbeaten record on clay this year to 9-0.

“It was very close. It was a close match,” Tsitsipas told the ATP Tour site. “He (Sinner) had a lot of break point opportunities on my serve. It could have been different, but I stayed tough and I converted those break points (I had). That was crucial and very important.”

After taking a 2-1 lead in his ATP head-to-head series against Sinner, Tsitsipas has now matched Russian Andrey Rublev’s tour-leading total of 26 victories this season.

Tsitsipas and Rublev are eight wins clear of their nearest ATP Tour rivals, with Sinner in third position on the 2021 wins list.

Tsitsipas now awaits the winner of the all-Spanish semi-final between 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Tsitsipas has a 2-6 ATP head-to-head record against Nadal, which includes his final loss to the Mallorcan in the 2018 Barcelona final. The Greek holds a 2-0 advantage against Carreno Busta.

“It feels great to be back (in the final). I will try to redeem myself from last time…I am looking forward to whoever I have to play,” said Tsitsipas. “A final is always a very important phase in a tournament.”

In a tight opening set, both players were unable to convert early break points. Tsitsipas made the only breakthrough of the set at 4-3, when he attacked Sinner’s forehand to extract multiple errors and break serve. Sinner struck eight of his 11 unforced errors in the first set on his forehand side.

Nadal beats Carreno, to meet Tsitsipas in Barcelona final

Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Pablo Carreno Busta during a semi final Godo tennis tournament in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday. (PTI)

AP: Rafael Nadal will face a red-hot Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open final after the 11-time champion eased past fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday.

Nadal roared out to a 5-1 lead before Carreno pulled back a break. Carreno then had three break chances on Nadal’s next service game, but the latter saved them all and closed out the set.

Any thoughts of a Carreno comeback were snuffed out when Nadal broke his first service game of the second set in intimidating fashion. Carreno thought he smashed the ball well beyond Nadal’s reach, only for the 20-time Grand Slam winner to angle into position and blast the ball right back past him as Carreno lost his footing and tumbled to the clay.

The top-seeded Nadal improved to an 8-0 career record against the 13th-ranked Carreno.

The second-seeded Tsitsipas advanced after beating Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 for his eighth consecutive straight-set victory including last week’s title run at Monte Carlo. The Greek’s 26 wins this season are matched only by Andrey Rublev on the men’s circuit.

Tsitsipas beat Nadal in their last meeting in the Australian Open quarterfinals in February, when Tsitsipas rallied from a two-set deficit over four hours.

Nadal will try to stop Tsitsipas’ winning streak on Sunday.

Overall, Nadal holds a 6-2 head-to-head record with Tsitsipas, including a victory in the 2018 Barcelona Open final.

 “It feels great to be back (in the final). I will try to redeem myself from last time,” Tsitsipas said.

The 34-year-old Nadal has won all 11 finals he has reached in Barcelona. He dominated the tournament in his home country from 2005-09, 2011-13, and 2016-18. He lost in the 2019 semifinals to eventual champion Dominic Thiem. Last year the event was not held because of the coronavirus pandemic.

By IANS Updated: Apr 25, 2021 1:40:11 am