ATP Rotterdam: Stefanos Tsitsipas overcomes slow start to beat Jiri Lehecka



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ATP Rotterdam: Stefanos Tsitsipas overcomes slow start to beat Jiri Lehecka

World no. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to his 18th ATP final and the first in Rotterdam, beating the young Czech Jiri Lehecka 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 51 minutes. The Greek overcame a slower start to topple the lower-ranked opponent, who qualified for the main draw and reached the semi-final at his second ATP tournament.

Tsitsipas won 13 points more than Lehecka, playing better behind the first and second serve and defending two out of three break chances to sail through his service games in sets two and three. Jiri fought well, but it was not enough to cross the finish line first, losing ground in the decider and ending his journey in the semis after suffering three breaks.

The 20-year-old stayed in touch with world no. 4 in the mid-range and most extended rallies, and Stefanos forged the advantage in the shortest range up to four shots. Thus, Tsitsipas is through to his eighth ATP 500 final, hoping to lift the first crown at this level after losing the previous seven title matches!

Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to his eighth ATP 500 final.

Stefanos fired an ace in the opening game for a hold at love before getting broken at 1-1 after a backhand mistake. Lehecka confirmed the lead with a volley winner in the fourth game and landed a service winner at 3-2 to remain in front.

Jiri painted a return winner to earn a break chance in game seven, and Stefanos saved it with a forehand winner right after the serve to remain within one break deficit. The youngster closed the eighth game with a service winner and earned a set point on the return in the next one.

Tsitsipas saved it with an unreturned serve and stroke another to bring the game home and extend the set. Lehecka held in game ten to wrap up the opener and move closer to his first ATP final. Jiri saved a break chance with a forehand winner in the second set's second game and stayed in touch with world no.

4 until game ten. The Greek prolonged the game with a forehand winner and broke after the opponent's backhand mistake to claim the set 6-4 and gain a massive boost. Stefanos served well in the decider, and Lehecka could not follow that pace, losing serve twice to propel the better-ranked rival through.

In the second game, Jiri hit a double fault to find himself 2-0 down and sprayed a forehand error at 2-5 to push Stefanos into the title clash.