TSITISIPAS-KYRGIOS TO MEET IN BLOCKBUSTER SEMI
By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
Stefanos Tsitsipas is seemingly looking more and more comfortable as he gets deeper in the Citi Open draw.
Playing under the lights on Stadium Court for the fourth time this week (doubles match included), the No.1 seed looked the part Friday as Tsitsipas advanced to his second straight Washington semifinal with a 75/60 win over No.10 seed Benoit Paire of France.
Tsitsipas will next face Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster semifinal showdown on Saturday night. Grab your popcorn, call your friends and settle in. This could be epic.
In Tsitsipas and Kyrgios, the Stadium Court crowd will be treated to a first-time encounter between two of the game’s top showmen and dazzling shot makers.
Combine their talents with a primetime slot in a packed stadium with a berth in the championship at stake and this Saturday night showdown has must-see written all over it.
While Tsitsipas has loftier goals than simply getting through the quarterfinals, his win over Paire allowed the 20-year-old Greek phenom to reach another important benchmark. When the latest ATP Tour rankings are released next Monday, he’ll hit a new career-high of No.5 in the world.
“For me, it really means a lot because there has been a lot of hard work behind it,” he said. “Just a lot of suffering in general. I appreciate the fact, and I feel I deserve this position. It means a lot for sure.”
Although, Tsitsipas and Kyrgios have never played against each other on Tour, they have developed a unique friendship and even partnered together in doubles for the first time here in Washington. They’ve already announced they’ll team up again in Cincinnati in two weeks.
“We actually get along really well,” Kyrgios said. “I'm excited to go out there and just serve big and play big. He's one of the best players in the world right now. It's another opportunity for me to go out there and work on a couple things, have a lot of fun.”
Kyrgios advanced to his first semifinal since February with a 63/63 win over lucky loser Norbert Gombos. Kyrgios again impressed the Stadium Court with several displays of creativity and terrific shot making and retrieving.
Tsitsipas expects to see more of the same from the Aussie with a berth in the final on the line.
“He’s unpredictable,” Tsitsipas said of Kyrgios. “You never know what to expect from him. His serve, I think, is the biggest weapon in his game. He can just save a lot of opportunities, create a lot with his serve. In the rally, he sometimes goes for crazy shots… I’m going to have to be careful of his shot selection.”
Kyrgios is looking forward to putting on another show for the Stadium Court crowd and anticipates another lively atmosphere.
“Especially in D.C. the crowd has been awesome, the atmosphere has been awesome. I'm just happy I've been able to produce some good tennis.
“I've competed four days in a row. Going out there and enjoying myself. It's been fun. Obviously looking forward to the match against Stefanos. We're the only two people in the locker room right now. We were just laughing, having a good time.”