World no. 6 Alexander Zverev couldn’t reach his second Major final this week in Paris, scoring five wins before falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in three hours and 37 minutes! It was Zverev’s first loss in five-setters at Roland Garros after winning the opening seven, finishing on the losing side despite a solid effort after the opening two sets. Alexander has won three Masters 1000 crowns and the ATP Finals crown before turning 25, but he is yet to score a win over a top-10 opponent at Majors, losing all ten clashes versus the rivals from the elite group and hoping to change that at Wimbledon. The German was honest after the semi-final loss, saying that he should have started playing better earlier, as he can’t always come from two sets to love down, already doing that in the opening round. Also, Alexander wasn’t impressed with the semi-final stage, neither he would have been having he advanced into the final and lost it, as it all means he failed to win the title!
The Greek prevailed with five breaks on his tally, losing serve three times and forging the crucial advantage with a single break in the decider. Both had more unforced errors than winners, although they raised the level from the third set to make it an enjoyable encounter that went down to the wire. Tsitsipas claimed the opening set, although it was a close one. The Greek barely hit a winner in nine games, and he still avoided troubles behind the initial shot. On the other hand, Zverev won more return points (ten to eight), which wasn’t enough for a better result after getting broken right at the start. Stefanos grabbed a break in game two when the German sent a forehand wide to build an early advantage. Serving at 5-3, Tsitsipas held after deuce to take the opener in 37 minutes and gather momentum. Zverev clinched his first break in set number two, but his serving experience only went backward, struggling on both the first and second serve and getting broken thrice to fall two sets to love behind!
Alexander Zverev wasn’t happy about his Roland Garros run that ended in SF.
From 3-0 down, the Greek shifted into a higher gear and rattled off six straight games to turn the tables and forge a massive advantage ahead of the third set. With no room for errors, Alexander started to play better in the third set, defending the second serve nicely and facing only one break point. Zverev moved in front with a break at 1-1 and held at love in game ten to clinch the set and stay in contention. Carried by this boost, Alexander lost only four points behind the initial shot in the fourth set to keep the pressure on the other side and earn a break in the opening game.
After that, both players served well and Alexander fired a service winner at 5-4 to bring the set home and force a decider. Stefanos fended off three break chances in the opening game in one of the pivotal moments to gain a massive boost that he converted into a break in the fourth game for a 3-1 advantage. The Greek served well in games five and seven, and the German passed the ultimate challenge at 2-5 when he saved four match points. Remaining calm, Tsitsipas sealed the deal on his serve a few minutes later to advance into the first Major final, where he plays against Novak Djokovic on Sunday. Alexander will compete in Halle next week, facing Dominik Koepfer in the first round.
“I’m not at a stage anymore where I am happy with just a great match. Was it a good match? Yeah. But at the end of the day, I am going to fly home tomorrow. I don’t care about the semi-final. It might sound arrogant, but I’m not trying to be; I’m just saying how it is. I wouldn’t have cared about the final either had I lost it, to be honest. I didn’t win the tournament. I started to play proper tennis in the third set. Against someone like Stefanos, it might be too late. I can’t go down two sets to love against a top player like Stefanos and expect to win every time. I got to play better in those. The most important thing to come out of these matches is the first two sets, and I need to play them better. When I go into these encounters, I got to be 100% from the first point on,” Alexander Zverev said.