World no. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas lost in the final in Dubai to Novak Djokovic on Saturday, unable to make an extra step in the desert and claim the title, finishing runner-up to Roger Federer a year ago as well. With no time for rest, Stefanos took a trip to Manila, leading Greece against the Philippines in the first round of the World Group II Play-Off on an indoor clay court.
Stefanos and his brother Petros scored convincing victories to push Greece in front, spending two hours on the court combined and losing six games in total to send their country on the verge of success. Stefanos is now 5-0 in the Davis Cup singles rubbers, beating Alberto Lim 6-2, 6-1 in 53 minutes for the 12th triumph of the season and the ninth in the last ten encounters since Marseille.
The better-ranked player lost eight points behind the initial shot, facing no break chances and taking almost half as many points as his opponent who was far from the Greek's numbers. Tsitsipas had the upper hand on the return as well, converting five out of seven break opportunities to control the pace all the time and wrap up the encounter in less than an hour.
Lim got broken in the first couple of service games to fall 3-0 down, with Stefanos who served well to grab the set 6-2 with a hold at love in game eight. In set number two, the ATP Finals champion clinched three straight breaks to race over the finish line and deliver the opening point for Greece before his brother added the second for a perfect day at the office.
"Things worked out pretty well; I think I played okay. It's nice to get the win today," said Stefanos. "I played well from start to finish," said Petros. "I had a good mindset after a good start and carried that for the rest of the match.
I think I played very solid, without too many mistakes. From his side, I think he didn't play his best, which gave me the confidence to go even more."