Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas admitted that even he doubted if he would be able to create a comeback against world No. 21 Karen Khachanov in Rotterdam. Tsitsipas, seeded at No. 2, recovered from a set down to beat Russian tennis star Khachanov 4-6 6-3 7-5 and reach the Rotterdam semifinal.
After losing the opening two games of the match, Khachanov won the following four games to take a 4-2 lead before serving out for the opener in the 10th game. Tsitsipas failed to serve out for the second set in his first attempt but managed to do in his second attempt in the ninth game.
In the third set, Tsitsipas recovered from a 3-1 deficit to complete a comeback win. "He was playing great tennis and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to compete," said Tsitsipas, per the ATP website. "I had an amazing 5-0 lead in the second set and that brought a lot of confidence into my game.
We had great rallies and the quality of tennis was excellent. You need to stay as calm as possible in three-setters. I have won a lot in the past and with experience, it gives me an idea of how to play in these tight moments."
Tsitsipas plays next against Andrey Rublev
Tsitsipas has been winning tight matches all week in Rotterdam as in his first match of the tournament he beat Egor Gerasimov 7-6 (4) 7-5. "I had to play more consistently and also what I increased in the [key] moments was the speed of my ball, which felt kind of floppy before.
He had a solid game, he was serving well at times. He wasn't missing a lot, so it was difficult," Tsitsipas said after beating Gerasimov. "I think once I put in my head that I needed to fight and I [couldn't] take [any] single moment for granted, things changed and I felt the confidence." It remains to be seen if Tsitsipas can beat Rublev and reach the Rotterdam final.