Stefanos Tsitsipas played on a high level at Roland Garros in the previous two seasons, reaching the semis in 2020 and the title clash this June. On both occasions, Stefanos lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets, keeping world no.
1 on the court for eight hours in those two clashes before ending on the losing side and missing a chance to earn a Major glory. This year's Roland Garros was Stefanos' first Major final, and he stood a set away from becoming a champion before Novak prevailed 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 after four hours and 11 minutes to keep the Greek empty-handed.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Tsitsipas, who missed a chance of becoming the youngest Roland Garros winner since Rafael Nadal in 2008. The Greek stated that he does not understand what happened after the second set that he won comfortably, losing ground and never regaining his A-game after feeling inferior to Novak.
Djokovic got broken thrice in the opening two sets before shifting into a higher gear, dominating serve and return in the rest of the clash to leave the youngster behind and extend his dominance at Majors. In the opening game, Stefanos saved two break points to avoid an early setback and created a set point at 4-5.
Djokovic saved it after a 25-stroke rally and secured a break to open a 6-5 advantage. Ready to fight, Stefanos broke back to introduce a tie break, where he saved a set point at 5-6 and claimed the last three points to gain a massive boost after almost 70 minutes of a grueling battle.
Stefanos lost five points behind the initial shot in set number two and turned ten return points into two breaks and a huge advantage, ruling the court in those moments. The Greek broke the Serb in games one and seven to forge a 5-2 lead and held with a service winner in game eight to move closer to tennis glory.
Stefanos Tsitsipas wasted two sets to love lead against Novak Djokovic in Paris.
That last step is never an easy one against Novak Djokovic, though, and the Serb confirmed that once again. Novak went for a toilet break and returned as a different player ahead of the third set.
The Serb grabbed a break in the fourth game and carried the advantage home for 6-3 and momentum on his side. Djokovic was even more dominant in the fourth set, flying on wings of confidence and firing 14 winners to take the thunder.
Stefanos could not follow that pace, taking only three return points and suffering breaks in games one and three to fall 6-2 and stop dreaming about victory. The Greek wasted a couple of game points at 1-1 in the decider, which he could not afford at that point, 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. Still, that was all we saw from him, as Djokovic secured the triumph and the 19th Major crown with a hold at deuce in game ten.
"I started playing very short from the third set, losing my rhythm for an unexplained reason. It was strange, considering how I played in the first part of the match. I felt inferior to Nole, and it was hard to readjust and get back at my best.
I lost control of my game, and it's unfortunate to finish on the losing side, as I missed an excellent opportunity. I played well, and I hope it will be better the next time around," Stefanos Tsitsipas said.