Stefanos Tsitsipas stuns Novak Djokovic in Shanghai tennis quarter-finals

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece has now defeated all the ‘Big Three’ this year — Novac Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2019

Stefanos Tsitsipas stuns Novak Djokovic in Shanghai tennis quarter-finals

  • Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas has now defeated all the ‘Big Three’ this year — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

SHANGHAI: World number one Novak Djokovic was stunned in the Shanghai Masters quarter-finals by young Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets on Friday.
The 21-year-old has now defeated all the “Big Three” this year — Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — and faces another major talent in his Saturday semifinal against 23-year-old Daniil Medvedev.
He recovered from losing the opening three games in just seven minutes to shock the reigning champion 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Tsitsipas sealed the deal with a gleeful smash and held both arms aloft, while Djokovic met his opponent with a warm embrace at the net.
“He deserved the victory, he was the better player,” said the 32-year-old Serbian, who had looked imperious up until now.
“Second and third set I started off very well, but then I wasn’t sharp.
“I lacked that little bit of dynamic movement and acceleration in my shots.
“I didn’t have any breakpoints for two sets. I mean, he did serve well, credit to him, but just wasn’t pleased with the way I played.”
Asked if the seventh-ranked Tsitsipas has the potential to be number one, Djokovic replied: “He definitely has, yes.”
After a dreadful start, Tsitsipas found his feet in the second set, winning on a tie break, then went 3-1 up in the decider when Djokovic planted his forehand wide on the third break point.
It was a double celebration for the young Greek, who has also confirmed his place in the prestigious season-ending ATP Finals.
He did so after fourth-ranked Medvedev tamed self-styled “wild horse” Fabio Fognini 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) to canter into the semifinals. Fognini was vying for a place at the Finals.
Djokovic said that he is fully recovered from a shoulder injury.
He did not drop a set in winning the title in Tokyo and had carried that ominous form into Shanghai — until he came across Tsitsipas.
Medvedev — another of the next generation — sent down 12 aces to help see off Fognini and said: “I don’t know what happened, my serve was crushing it.”
The Russian has a 12-0 record in quarter-finals this year and Djokovic this week described him as “very complete” player.
Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam champion, faces young German Alexander Zverev later Friday in his quarter-final.
The other match is between Austria’s Dominic Thiem, who beat Tsitsipas to the China Open title on Sunday, and Italy’s Matteo Berrettini.
US Open champion Nadal is not in Shanghai because of a wrist injury.


Nadal, Kyrgios advance as freak weather hits Australian Open

Updated 46 min 17 sec ago

Nadal, Kyrgios advance as freak weather hits Australian Open

  • The weather-disrupted tournament on Thursday was hit by dirty rain which left courts muddy and unplayable.

MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios reached the Australian Open third round on Thursday after the weather-disrupted tournament faced a new challenge: Dirty rain which left courts muddy and unplayable.

After a day of cleanup operations and delays, Australia’s Kyrgios fought his way past Frenchman Gilles Simon in four sets and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep stamped her class with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Britain’s Harriet Dar, while Belinda Bencic knocked out former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko — she was playing despite the sudden death of her father this month.

Nadal, a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 winner over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, miscued a shot that hit a ballgirl in the head, but he melted hearts when he apologized and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“I was so scared for her, honestly,” the 19-time Grand Slam winner said. “The ball was quick and straight on the head. She’s a very brave girl.”

Kyrgios, increasingly popular with home fans after his fundraising efforts for Australia’s bushfire crisis, was cruising at two sets up when he dropped the third set and with it, his composure.

But just when it looked like he would suffer one of his trademark implosions, he rallied for a 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory.

“I definitely lost my way a little bit ... but I decided to refocus,” Kyrgios said of his mini-meltdown in the third set. “I could have gone to a very dark place in the fourth set but I put it away.”

Kyrgios and Nadal stay on course for a fourth-round clash and the next instalment in their grudge match after the Aussie hit back at criticism from the “super salty” Spaniard last year.

Their victories followed a day of upheaval caused by the dirty rain, the latest weather problem at a tournament which has contended with bushfire smoke, heavy downpours and strong wind.

Rain mixed with a dust storm coated the Melbourne Park facilities in a fine layer of mud which took hours to clean and made many outside courts temporarily unusable.

As action resumed Alexander Zverev, another man who has a running feud with Kyrgios, showed signs of a return to form as he downed Egor Gerasimov 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5.

The German seventh seed has been practicing up to seven hours a day after a winless ATP Cup and the hard work paid off as he safely reached the third round.

However, fifth seed Dominic Thiem had a scare as he was taken to five sets by Australia’s 140th-ranked Alex Bolt before recovering his composure to win 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2.