Tsitsipas Stuns Goffin to Make History
Stefanos Tsitsipas made history by defeating the world number 10 to reach the semifinals of the European Open. This would not only be the biggest win of his career to date, but also the biggest win in the history of Greek men’s tennis.
Although playing the top seed David Goffin in his home tournament may not have been an easy task for a teenager, Tsitsipas once again has shown why he is regarded as one of the best young players in the world. Despite dropping the first set, the Greek would rally back to shock the Belgian player and Belgian crowd, taking the match 2-6 7-6(1) 7-6(4). This is the first time ever that a Greek beat an opponent ranked inside the top 10 on the men’s side.
After having his serve broken twice in the first set, it was apparent that the Greek would have to do better on serve in order to come back and win the match. In the second set, he saved all three break points that he faced and served seven aces, and subsequently dominated the tiebreak 7-1. The third set was also closely-contested. After Tsitsipas broke Goffin for the first time in the match to take a 3-2 lead in the set, Goffin immediately broke back for 3-3. Tsitsipas would then break back in the next game and then hold in the following game to take a 5-3 lead. Tsitsipas would then serve for the match at 5-4, only to get broken again. Despite immediately breaking back to take the next game and have another chance to serve out the match at 6-5, Goffin’s return game proved too strong and the Belgian got the break to take the match into a third-set tiebreak. In the tiebreak, Tsitsipas only lost one point on serve, as he prevailed to take it 7-4 and book a spot in the semifinals.
In the semifinals, Tsitsipas will face the Argentine Diego Schwartzman. The match will be played not before 3:30 P.M. local time (4:30 P.M. Greece time, 9:30 A.M. New York time). Schwartzman, the fourth seed in Antwerp and 26th ranked player in the world, has been in good form this season as he was a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open. He also has an advantage over Tsitsipas, as he has only had to play two matches to reach the quarterfinals, whereas Tsitsipas had played five matches in the past six days to make it this far. However, Tsitsipas also played three less matches than Goffin and was still able to win despite being at a clear disadvantage due to the poor scheduling of the tournament organizers by starting the qualifying tournament one day later than they normally do. This would have given Tsitsipas a well-needed extra day of rest, but if he serves well against Schwartzman, he will have a good chance to reach the final.
Regardless of the result against Schwartzman, Tsitsipas will now move up to a new career-high ranking. He will pass Vasilis Mazarakis (115), Konstantinos Economidis (112), and Nicholas Kalogeropoulos (108) to become the highest-ranked Greek player of all time on the ATP World Tour. To become the first Greek man to break into the top 100, and to do it at just 19 years of age, this is a huge accomplishment for Tsitsipas. He is now guaranteed to be ranked at least 97 in the world, and could move into the top 90 with a win over Schwartzman, and top 75 if he wins the title. By being in the top 100, Tsitsipas will be guaranteed direct entry into the main draw of all four Grand Slam tournaments provided that he can maintain that ranking. With few ranking points to defend between now and May, it seems likely that Tsitsipas will only continue to ascend to the top of the rankings.