Stefanos Tsitsipas withdraws from St. Petersburg ahead of Novak Djokovic clash



by   |  VIEW 11272

Stefanos Tsitsipas withdraws from St. Petersburg ahead of Novak Djokovic clash

As was expected, Stefanos Tsitsipas has withdrawn from the next week's ATP 500 event in St. Petersburg after a deep run at Roland Garros. World no. 6 has reached the semi-final in Paris for the first time, facing Novak Djokovic in the battle for the first Major final on Friday and not being able to compete in Russia already in a couple of days, on a different surface.

St. Petersburg was promoted into the ATP 500 category for a year, gathering a strong entry list but already losing some high-quality players who have pulled out from the event. Alongside Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, David Goffin, Pablo Carreno Busta, Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori and Kevin Anderson have decided to skip St.

Petersburg and take a week off after the third and last Major of the season. Thus, the defending champion Daniil Medvedev, Denis Shapovalov, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov should lead the field. The 25th edition of St. Petersburg takes place at the Sibur Arena, with the players competing for $1,243,790 and 500 ATP points.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Richard Krajicek, Marat Safin, Gustavo Kuerten, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev have all won the title here in the past, with Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev as the champions in 2018 and 2019.

Two weeks ago, Tsitsipas failed to serve out for the victory in the final in Hamburg against Rublev, taking revenge in the quarter-final in Paris after beating the Russian 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 55 minutes. Trailing 5-3 in the opener, Stefanos rattled off 16 of the last 21 games, stealing the opener and dominating sets two and three to seal the deal and set the semi-final clash against Novak Djokovic.

The Greek lost 23 points behind the initial shot, suffering one break early in the opening set and never looking back, mounting the pressure on the other side of the court. Tsitsipas fired 35 winners and 17 unforced errors, leaving Rublev on a stable 25-23 ratio that wasn't enough at least for a set after suffering five breaks from eight chances offered to the younger opponent.

Stefanos Tsitsipas will not compete in St. Petersburg next week.

Andrey grabbed a break at 2-2 and confirmed the lead with a hold at love. Tsitsipas couldn't deal with the opponent's down the line strokes, turning that around in the rest of the clash to gain control.

Rublev served for the opener at 5-4, spraying a forehand error and suffering a break at 15. With the momentum on his side, Tsitsipas broke again in game 12 to rattle off four straight games and steal the set 7-5 after 48 minutes.

The Russian stayed in touch in the opening four games of the second set, getting broken at 15 at 2-3 after a lucky net cord for Tsitsipas. A service winner sent the Greek 5-2 up, closing the set with another break in game eight to forge a massive advantage.

Gaining an enormous boost, Stefanos delivered one good hold after another in the third set, stealing Rublev's serve at 15 in game four to open a 3-1 gap. The Greek held after deuce in the next one to cement the advantage, earning a match point in game eight that Andrey saved with a service winner to prolong the encounter.

That didn't last for long, though, as Tsitsipas landed four winners at 5-3 to move over the top and book the semi-final spot. "Stefanos Tsitsipas has pulled out. He is still in contention at Roland Garros and will not come to St. Petersburg, citing fatigue and a possibility of sustaining an injury," the organizers said.