ATP Cup: Stefanos Tsitsipas roars past Alexander Zverev, keeps Greece alive



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ATP Cup: Stefanos Tsitsipas roars past Alexander Zverev, keeps Greece alive

A year and a half ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas fended off two match points against the defending champion Alexander Zverev at Canada Masters to notch a 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 triumph. Like many times before, it was a turning point in the rivalry between the youngest top-10 stars and the ATP Finals champions from the previous two seasons, with the Greek scoring five straight wins over the German, delivering the latest one on Sunday night in Brisbane.

In the second match of the ATP Cup tie between Germany and Greece (Jan-Lennard Struff toppled Michail Pervolarakis in the first rubber), Stefanos sprinted past Alexander 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 14 minutes to earn the first victory at this competition and keep his country alive ahead of the deciding doubles clash.

Zverev made a perfect start against Alex de Minaur on Friday and led 6-4, 4-2 before the Aussie performed a comeback, leaving the German empty-handed and with usual frustrations we had been seeing from him throughout the previous year that saw him winning only one small ATP 250 crown.

Things were even worse for the three-time Masters 1000 champion today, landing 45% of the first serve in and hitting two aces and ten double faults, just four less from what he gifted to de Minaur. Tsitsipas grabbed half of the return points, creating seven chances and scoring four breaks that kept him safe throughout the match, giving away only 11 points behind the initial shot and one break of serve that couldn't change anything.

The Greek held in the opening game after a crafty volley winner at the net, wasting a break point in game two and fixing that next time around when Alexnader sprayed a backhand error to lose serve and find himself 3-1 down.

A forehand winner pushed Stefanos 4-1 up and he grabbed another break a few minutes later following a double fault from a frustrated German who was losing ground more and more as the match progressed. Serving for the set, Tsitsipas landed four winners in game seven for a commanding 6-1 in 30 minutes, ruling the court so far and leaving Zverev far behind in almost every element.

The German finally did something more on the return in the second game of the second set, forcing an error from Stefanos to score a break and open a 2-0 advantage, desperate for more of the same in the rest of the set. Still, his serve didn't exist today, struggling to find the right toss and hitting another double fault to get broken in the very next game.

Tsitsipas held at love to level the score at 2-2 and notched another break after, you guess, another double fault from Zverev in game five, with the German yelling towards his father from the bench and making his cry. A half-volley winner sent Tsitsipas 4-2 in front and no problems were standing between him and victory, sealing the deal with a half-volley winner in game ten to wrap up an impressive victory, his first out of many in 2020.