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Aug/21

11

Tsitsipas Solves Another Puzzle In Toronto

One of the many fine attributes of Stefanos Tsitsipas as a tennis player is his ability to figure out how to beat players that he has previously been mastered by.

Tsitsipas first showed this outstanding quality vs Felix Auger-Aliassime, who he was dominated by in juniors and their first two ATP pro matches (both in straight sets 64 62 in Indian Wells and 75 62 at Queens (both in 2019). Then suddenly in the third ATP meeting in Shanghai 2019, Tsitsipas figured out how to beat Felix 76 76 and has never looked back. He’s since beaten Felix three more times to take a 4-2 head to head advantage. One of those wins was in the final of Marseille 2020, 63 64.

Another such troublesome opponent like Felix emerged to trouble Tsitsipas. Ugo Humbert defeated the Greek in Paris last year 62 67 26 and again at the Olympics two weeks ago 67 76 67.

Tsitsipas drew Humbert in Toronto and yesterday they played another marathon epic like in Tokyo. Surely riding the wave of his 2-0 mental edge on Tsitsipas, Humbert saved five match points in the second set last night and forced a third set with the momentum all on his side.

But World no. 4 Tsitsipas managed to shake off the heartbreaking failure of blowing five match points in the second set loss 15-13 tiebreaker and then made the mental and physical adjustments to dominate No. 27 Humbert 6-1 in the third set, for his first pro career win vs the lefthanded Frenchman. The final score was 63 67 61.

Tsitsipas will play the winner of Khachanov vs Karatsev in the round of 16.

At this rate of pronounced tennis IQ growth displayed by Tsitsipas, one has to wonder if Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic, the Greek’s most complicated ATP antagonists, should begin to feel some degree of panic.

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11 comments

  • Sam · August 11, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    Speaking of Toronto, Scoop, what do you make of Nadal’s withdrawal from there, and also from Cincy?

    Injured bodyโ€”or just injured ego?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 11, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    Sam, I think Rafa wants to be super fresh for US Open, let all the other players burn out before it starts. The foot may be hurting to some degree, that’s all the more reason to rest it and not waste engine miles on two tournaments he doesn’t care about winning. It’s all about US Open for him and Djokovic and Federer.

  • Sam · August 11, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    Makes sense, Scoop, but it’s pretty disrespectful to drop out of a tournament once the draw has already taken place. ๐Ÿ˜›

    I suspect Nadal is also running kind of scared, and doesn’t want to crash out early again. As for the U.S. Open, Federer has almost zero chance there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nadal has a chance, but not a very good one, in my opinion. Anyway, should be an interesting tournament.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 12, 2021 at 7:45 am

    Sam, Rafa is 35 now and Fed 40, they know one brutal point can cause a mild injury which can nag and grow into a chronic one. Rafa Fed Djokovic are making the smart scheduling decision.

  • Sam · August 12, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Well, it’s funny how Nadal never pulls out of any clay events to “play it smart” for Roland Garros. ๐Ÿ˜

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 12, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Good point. I think the excessive heat in eastern USA summer may be a factor too. Tsitsipas handles Khachanov on his birthday today, routinely. T

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 13, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Drana Queen Bibi is back! Last night vs Jabeur she deployed a large part of her mind game/distraction inventory. In the three set win vs Ons, Bibi used the my toe hurts card, the injury time out card, the coaching card, limp card. Bibi played it fairly straight for the last year and her results were mediocre at best. Now she’s returned to her drama queen methods – will it improve her results to win major tournaments?

  • catherine · August 13, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    Scoop – Jabeur bt Bianca, sounds here as if it was the other way around. So none of the cards worked. And of course she hardly played last year. My takeaway – Bianca needs to lose weight and stay uninjured for at least one tournament. And will Sven Groeneveld make a difference ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 13, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Catherine, I noticed Bibi was slightly heavier in the legs also. For some reason female tennis players gain weight more easily than ATP guys, you just dont see many or any top ATP players with stout physiques like Bibi. It was good to see Bibi back using her repertoire of diversions and antics, they add good theater to the otherwise routine matches. Where is lil Coco?

  • catherine · August 14, 2021 at 6:27 am

    Coco was in Montreal and I expect to see her in NY, assuming Bianca doesn’t withdraw.

    PS- I wonder if moving to Monaco was a good idea at this point in Bianca’s life/career. A long way from her home.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 14, 2021 at 7:03 am

    Catherine, I think what it boils down to is Bibi is a normal fun girl, to be a dominant repeat Grand Slam champion she has to be freakishly obsessed with winning winning winning. Just don’t see that in her. She won the one, got the big fame and fortune and she lost a fraction of her edge. Injuries didn’t help. There are just too many young, hungry great players out there for one to be dominant. Osaka Iga Muguruza Halep Pliskova Coco Bencic… even a great player like Bouchard, who worked hard to get back on top, could not even get back to top 100. There’s simply too many great players out there today.

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