Stefanos Tsitsipas was a set away from beating Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final and winning the first Major crown at 22. The Greek took the opening two sets in the big final before the Serb took charge to claim the next three without any trouble and secure the 19th Major crown that puts him one behind Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
After the third set, Stefanos took a medical timeout, having slight issues with his hip but solving them to continue the encounter without problems. With or without that, the Greek couldn't match the pace of the more experienced player, creating no damage on the return after the second set and getting broken five times to push Novak over the top.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Tsitsipas, who missed a chance of becoming the youngest Roland Garros winner since Rafael Nadal in 2008. Djokovic lost serve thrice in the opening two sets before shifting into a higher gear and setting the pace that Tsitsipas couldn't match.
The Greek saved early break points in the opener and had a set point at 5-4. Novak erased it after the longest rally of the match and moved 6-5 in front in the tie break before Stefanos claimed three straight points for 8-6 in just under 70 minutes.
Carried by this momentum, Tsitsipas lost five points behind the initial shot in set number two and turned ten return points into two breaks and a huge advantage. Novak regained his strokes and started all over in the third, serving well and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.
The Serb grabbed a break in the fourth game and carried the advantage home for 6-3 and momentum on his side, despite still being down.
Stefanos Tsitsipas took a medical timeout against Novak Djokovic in RG final.
Djokovic was even more dominant in the fourth set, flying on wings of confidence and playing well on both serve and return.
Stefanos couldn't stay in touch, taking only three return points and suffering breaks in games one and three to fall 6-2 and further away from the trophy. The Greek wasted a couple of game points at 1-1 in the decider, which he couldn't afford, as Novak broke him to open a 2-1 gap.
Stefanos faced troubles again at 2-4, erasing two break chances and bringing the game home to remain within one break deficit before Djokovic secured the victory with a hold at deuce in game ten and secured another incredible title and many records.
"I called the physio because I felt a blockage in my hip. I needed help to unlock it, but it wasn't a big deal, and I continued to play normally. I have learned that you ain't a winner until you secure the third set, not the second.
At a Major, two sets to love advantage doesn't guarantee a thing, as you have to win one more. Unfortunately, my style of play changed after the second set, and I couldn't keep it up," Stefanos Tsitsipas said.