Tennis

Greek giant-slayer Tsitsipas claims another scalp

Tsitsipas defeats world No. 6 Anderson to set up final date with Nadal

Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas slayed another tennis giant yesterday morning (Singapore time), saving a match-point as he toppled big-serving Kevin Anderson 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) in a thriller to set up a Rogers Cup final against top seed Rafael Nadal.

Tsitsipas dropped his racket, smiled and then screamed in front of a frenzied crowd after world No. 6 Anderson sent a backhand long on match-point. It was the world No. 27's fourth consecutive win over a top-10 opponent at the tournament.

Tsitsipas dispatched Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev in the previous three rounds before battling back to send the Wimbledon runner-up packing on a sun-soaked day in Toronto.

"It never gets easier. You just get better," Tsitsipas wrote on a camera lens after the match.

Tsitsipas was scheduled to play his first ATP Masters 1000 final on his 20th birthday this morning (Singapore time) against world No. 1 Nadal after the Spaniard defeated Karen Khachanov 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in their rain-delayed match.

Fourth seed Anderson was unable to break Tsitsipas' serve on any of his four opportunities and saw his lone match-point opportunity vanish when Tsitsipas smoked a backhand crosscourt winner in the third set tie-break. Tsitsipas, who stood well back of the baseline when receiving the South African's blistering serves, managed the only service break of the game in the third game of the second set with an overhead smash.

With the win, Tsitsipas is projected to climb to at least No. 15 when the new rankings are released today.

"I didn't even have this in my head," Tsitsipas said of reaching the final.

"I thought winning a couple of rounds would be amazing, but I'm in the final already. I can't believe what just happened. I didn't aim that high and, with low expectations, I managed to pull out my best tennis."

NADAL NEXT

Despite his recent success Tsitsipas will be a big underdog when he takes on French Open champion Nadal, who will be seeking his 33rd career Masters 1000 title.

Nadal overcame six aces from the big-serving Russian Khachanov to punch his ticket to his fifth final of the year.

"I'm happy with the way that I played and overall I have been improving," said the 32-year-old Nadal.

"Tomorrow is a big test against a player who is playing great, a young one.

"I am looking forward to that match. I'm excited about it and it's an opportunity for me to play a good match against one of the best players."

Nadal dominated in his only previous meeting with Tsitsipas, a straight-set win in the final of the Barcelona Open on the Spaniard's preferred surface of clay. - REUTERS

Tennis