Early exit for Stefanos in NYC

Early exit for Stefanos in NYC

Russia’s Andrey Rublev upset world number eight Stefanos Tsitsipas in four sets in the first round of the 2019 US Open.

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Rublev, the world number 43 and arguably the most dangerous unseeded player in the entire draw, came into the match in superb form after beating Roger Federer less than two weeks ago in Cincinnati. On the other hand, Tsitsipas was on a three-match losing streak. Rublev and Tsitsipas had played against each other twice as juniors, with each winning one match. On the professional level, Rublev edged the Greek 7-6 in the third in a challenger tournament in France back in January 2017, while Tsitsipas got the better of the Russian in the semi-finals of last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

Tsitsipas’ serve was broken in the opening game of the match, and the Greek failed to capitalize on two break chances later on in the first set. Rublev would then go on to take the first set 6-4. The Russian also went up an early break in the second set, but Tsitsipas immediately broke back. With both players comfortably holding serve for the remainder of the second set, a tiebreak was played to decide the set. Tsitsipas took it 7-5 to level the match at one set all.

Rublev was able to break Tsitsipas for a 4-2 lead in the third set, but Tsitsipas broke back in the subsequent game. Like the second set, the third set also went to a tiebreak. Both players held a set point, before the Russian closed it out 9-7.

In the fourth set, the Greek began cramping. Despite that, he fought on and came back from 3-5 down to level the set at 5-5. Nevertheless, Rublev prevailed 7-5 to book his place in the third round. Tsitsipas hit 20 aces and seven double faults, while Rublev hit 14 aces and six double faults. Neither player had a good break point conversion rate, as Tsitsipas went 3/13 and Rublev went 5/20. Unforced errors arguably lost Tsitsipas the match. The Greek hit 65 winners and 81 unforced errors, while Rublev hit 51 winners and 47 unforced errors.

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by Andrew Stamas

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