After a slow start of the season in Australia, Stefanos Tsitsipas scored a victory in the first round in Rotterdam, beating Hubert Hurkacz 6-7, 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and seven minutes. Having some problems with a shoulder injury, the Greek lost the opener in the tie break despite a great comeback in the closing stages, shifting into a higher gear after that to dominate in sets two and three and reach the last 16, rattling off 12 of the last 14 games to seal the deal in style.
Finding his range in the second part of the encounter, Stefanos hit 28 winners and 20 unforced errors, leaving the Pole on almost 40 unforced mistakes and producing six breaks from 11 opportunities to cross the finish first.
Hubert broke in the third game of the match and had three set points on serve at 5-4, wasting them all to suffer a break before taking the tie break 7-2 with a return winner for an early advantage. With no room for errors, the Greek grabbed three breaks in set number two for a 6-3, overcoming an early deficit and gaining a boost to sail through the decider with a double break, hitting four winners in the seventh game to find himself in the second round.
"I was 2-0 down at the beginning of the second set and claimed 12 of the last 14 games; it was a good run in the end. I started to play better from that point, adjusting to the conditions better and getting used to the patterns of the points on the court.
That gave me confidence and relief to serve better, open the court and mix things up. There are a lot of nerves and tensions whey you are playing the tournament and once you lose you don't know what to do; you suddenly feel like a normal person and tennis players are not like that, with the traveling all year long and competing at so many tournaments."
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