Stefanos Tsitsipas fails at Australian Open. His brother tries to fix that at Futures

Pavlos Tsitsipas earned a win at the M25 Hammamet Futures in Tunisia

by Jovica Ilic
Stefanos Tsitsipas fails at Australian Open. His brother tries to fix that at Futures
© Daniel Pockett / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Stefanos Tsitsipas could not repeat last year's Australian Open result. The finalist from 2023 fell in the fourth round to Taylor Fritz 7-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in three hours and one minute, dropping 1000 ATP points and barely remaining in the top-10.

A week later, his youngest brother Pavlos delivered his fourth main-draw Futures victory at the M25 Hammamet Futures in Tunisia. An 18-year-old kicked off his professional duties at home in Heraklion at the end of 2021, entering three consecutive Futures.

The youngest Tsitsipas played one professional tournament in 2022 and returned to them in the closing stages of 2023. Pavlos advanced to his first quarter-final in Heraklion in October and closed the season with another win.

Stefanos Tsitsipas & Taylor Fritz, Australian Open 2024© Daniel Pockett / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Pavlos entered this week's M25 Hammamet Futures directly and met the home teenager Anas Bennour Dit Sahli in the first round.

The Greek scored a 6-4, 7-6 victory in an hour and 38 minutes, notching his fourth main-draw Futures triumph. Pavlos played better behind the second serve than the first, losing serve two times and responding with three breaks from 12 return opportunities.

Both players held at 30 in the encounter's opening games before Pavlos defended a break chance in game three. Bennour Dit Sahli worked hard in the sixth game, taking four straight points and saving two break points en route to 3-3.

The Tunisian grabbed a break in the seventh game, moving 4-3 in front but losing serve at 15 in the next one, bringing the Greek back to 4-4.

Pavlos Tsitsipas scored a Futures win in Tunisia at 18.

Tsitsipas held at 15 in game nine to move in front and grabbed his second straight break at 5-4 to wrap up the opener, rattling off three games.

With a boost on his side, Pavlos clinched a break in the second game of the second set, opening a 6-4, 3-0 advantage. Anas defended a break point in game four, ending his downfall and staying within one break deficit. Tsitsipas served well and built a 5-2 advantage with a couple of fine holds.

Bennour Dit Sahli reduced the deficit to 5-3 and pulled the break back at the last moment in game nine to prolong his chances. The Tunisian defended two match points in the tenth game, doing his best to stay in touch and locking the result at 5-5.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Australian Open 2024© Daniel Pockett / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Pavlos kept his composure in the 11th game, saving a break point and closing the game with three aces for a 6-5 lead. Anas saved another match point on serve in game 12, bringing it home and introducing a tie break.

Tsitsipas performed well and rattled off six points at 1-1 to emerge at the top and book a place in the second round. In the other part of the world, his older brother Stefanos failed to make a name for himself in Melbourne, with Taylor celebrating his first top-10 win at Majors after 11 straight losses.

The American served at 70% and dominated with his first serve. Fritz fired 50 winners and 19 unforced errors, keeping the pressure on the other side. Stefanos clinched two breaks and got broken four times from 11 chances offered to his rival, losing ground behind the second serve and failing to match the rival's level in sets three and four.

Stefanos Tsitsipas Australian Open