The man from Athens has found some form over the last few weeks.
After five defeats on the bounce on the tour he has found some form once again since the Laver Cup.
Runner up in Beijing defeating Zverev and Isner and so far in Shanghai has seen off Auger-Aliassime, Hurkacz and now Novak Djokovic.
He now sits with Dominic Thiem as the only players to have beaten Djokovic, Nadal and Federer this year.
When Stefanos is in this mood, it’s a delight to watch him. He is so focused and just oozes confidence. His thought is just one point at a time and knows what he wants to do.
To come from a set down against Novak with the form he has shown this week was a fantastic effort but his game was spot on and that is what he is about.
He doesn’t get stage fright, he did what he wanted to do and did it well.
Points won under 5 shots – Djokovic 45, Tsitsipas 54
Points won between 5 & 9 shots – Djokovic 21, Tsitsipas 23
Points won over 9 shots – Djokovic 16, Tsitsipas 6
16/22 rallies won over 9 shots is exceptional numbers from Novak and it is what you’d expect.
Stefanos would have looked at how Novak played against Shapovalov and saw as rallies continued to move along how he increased the speed of his ground strokes and knew he had to get out of that rhythm.
He was quick and found his own rhythm to dictate rallies well winning 77 points under 9 shots compared to 66 from Novak.
Serving stats? As good, if not better.
83% of first serves won is a great platform. Novak served very well himself dropping 25 points in three sets but Stefanos only dropped 22.
Incredibly in the two sets the 21 year old won he didn’t face a break point at all.
Lastly, three words:
Forehand, momentum and backhand.
Stefanos will do more damage in neutral rallies of the forehand. 34 winners and 20 of them were forehands, 12 on serve and just 2 backhands.
Just two backhand winners? Yes, but one turned the momentum of this match.
Djokovic 6-3 5-6 40-30 Tsitsipas
The sequence of events;
- Stefanos Tsitsipas hits a backhand slice return deep into the backhand corner.
- Novak Djokovic runs around to that inside-out forehand position and because he was late reacting can only send back cross court.
- Tsitsipas steps in and pulls the trigger down the line for the clean winner.
Two backhand winners and this was one saved us going to a tie-break and put Tsitsipas two points from the set, big moment.
You could ask more of Djokovic, he reacted very late to the return and wasn’t set in time to explore inside-in forehand up the line.
It changed the momentum. Stefanos was playing well and this gave him that spark to go and dominate which he did and is very much in form right now.