A teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas was among the most improved players in 2018, heading to Toronto with 25 victories and inside the top-30. Following the fourth round at Wimbledon and the semi-final in Washington, Stefanos entered his seventh Masters 1000 event in Canada, making a debut in Toronto and almost heading all the way.
Tsitsipas became the youngest player since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990 with four top-10 wins at a single event, reaching the final that he lost to Rafael Nadal on his 20th birthday. In the second round, a talented Greek performed on a very high level to oust world no 8.
Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-6, dropping only ten points on serve and never losing the grip to set the clash against Novak Djokovic. Delivering his best tennis again, Stefanos scored a 6-3 6-7 6-3 triumph in two hours and 20 minutes, advancing to his first Masters 1000 quarter-final!
It was the fifth top-10 triumph for Stefanos that sent him closer to a place inside the top-20. Like against Thiem, the youngster earned all that after a dominant performance on serve against one of the greatest returners in history, fending off both break points to keep the pressure on the other side of the net.
The Serb came to Toronto after conquering Wimbledon but didn't play on that level, failing to impress in the first two matches and not finding the rhythm against Stefanos. Tsitsipas kept his backhand safe and was the more aggressive player on the court, attacking from every opportunity to keep the points on his racquet and seal the deal in three sets.
In Toronto 2018, Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-7, 6-3.
Hitting 42 winners and 34 unforced errors, Stefanos had the upper hand over a four-time champion, hitting a service winner in 25% of all initial shots and overpowering Novak in those quickest exchanges to move over the top.
Starting all over in the decider, Tsitsipas clinched an early break and kept it until the end, sealing the deal with a forehand winner in game eight for the place in the quarter-final, where he faced Alexander Zverev. Recalling the clash, Tsitsipas said he didn't think about Novak on the other side of the net, staying focused on his game and citing this triumph as one of the best ones of his career.
"I was actually not paying attention that much if I was facing Novak Djokovic or whoever else. I was concentrating on my game," Tsitsipas said. "I knew that if I would start thinking too much, then it wouldn't be good for my game, so I said, 'Keep playing, keep doing what you're doing, you're doing it well.'
That match point, I couldn't believe it, what had just happened; it was one of the best victories I'd had."