The 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas had entered the 2018 season with just four ATP wins under his belt, seeking much better results in his breakthrough season. The young Greek claimed the first ATP title in Stockholm that year and crowned the season with the ATP Next Gen Finals trophy.
Stefanos played well in August to reach the Washington semi-final ahead of a brilliant run at the Masters 1000 event in Toronto. Tsitsipas advanced into the last eight in Canada following back-to-back top-10 triumphs over Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic, making a name for himself and facing another stern test in the quarters.
The defending champion Alexander Zverev stood on the other side of the net, and Tsitsipas earned a 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory in two hours and 28 minutes! Alexander was too strong for Stefanos a week earlier in Washington, and he had a massive opportunity to score another win over the Greek and remain on the title course in Toronto.
The German led 6-3, 5-2 and wasted two match points in the second set, with a break advantage in the decider and three break points at 4-4, all in vain. Alexander won three points more and had numerous chances on the return, earning five breaks but failing to save any of the four break opportunities he gave to Tsitsipas.
Nothing could separate them in the shortest range up to four strokes, and Zverev had a slight edge in the more extended ones, but nothing significant.
Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match points against Alexander Zverev in Toronto 2018.
With this win, Tsitsipas became the youngest player since Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo 2006 with three top-10 victories and earned enough points to crack the top-20.
Playing for his first Masters 1000 semi-final, Stefanos held at love in the first game and grabbed a break in the next one when his rival hit a double fault. In the third game, Alexander broke back at 15 and landed a forehand winner at 2-2 to forge the advantage.
Playing on a high level, Zverev clinched the set with a break in game nine, taking six of the previous seven games to claim the opener in 32 minutes. Alexander broke at 2-1 in set number two and held with a service winner in game seven to build a 6-3, 5-2 advantage in under an hour!
Serving for the victory in game nine, Zverev sprayed a forehand mistake to suffer a break and keep his rival in contention. In the tie break, the German squandered two match points at 7-6 and 9-8, and the Greek converted the fifth set point when Zverev landed a backhand wide in the 24th point!
Staying composed, Alexander fired a backhand winner at 2-2 in the decider to grab a break, keeping it only for one game, as Tsitsipas broke back at love to extend the drama. The Greek played bold tennis at 4-4 to defend three break chances and grabbed a break a few minutes later after Zverev's double fault to move into the semis.