In Toronto, Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the first Masters 1000 final of his career, on top of writing a page of men’s tennis history.
At 19 years and 364 days, the Greek became the youngest player in ATP history to defeat four top 10 players in the same tournament.
In his last four matches, he ousted Dominic Thiem (8), Novak Djokovic (10), Alexander Zverev (3), and Kevin Anderson (6), the latter the day before his 20th birthday, which he will celebrate facing the world number one, Rafael Nadal. “I would never have imagined that I could pull this out in a single tournament. It’s just — it’s not — we’re not used to that”, declared a still disbelieving Tsitsipas.
“I’m living the dream. I’m playing amazing. I’m enjoying it more than ever out on the court with the crowd. It’s been the key factor. They have helped me so much to win all those matches. It feels like I’m playing Davis Cup and everyone is backing me up and they’re so supportive.”
– Stefanos Tsitsipas
Nadal praises Tsitsipas
Following his semifinal triumph against Karen Khachanov, Rafael Nadal only had good words for his next rival:
“He’s a complex player. He has everything. He’s young. Has passion for the game. He has a great forehand, great backhand, good serve. So he’s not about one thing. He’s about everything.”
A different story the second time around?
Sunday’s match will be the second meeting between Nadal and Tsitsipas. The Spaniard has won the first one, a commanding 6-2, 6-1 victory in the Barcelona final, a couple of months ago.
However, many things have changed for the young Greek since then, and the encounter will not be played on a surface on which Nadal is nearly unbeatable.
Can Tsitsipas continue on this week’s streak of huge wins? Does he still have energy left to face his biggest challenge? Will the story be different for him this time around?
Many questions, to which the answers will come soon enough during the encounter.