After controlling the early action against home favourite Corentin Moutet on Thursday, Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a tense finish to advance the quarter-finals at the Rolex Paris Masters.
With his 6-3, 7-6(3) victory, Tsitsipas advances to his 14th quarter-final of the season and keeps alive his hopes of finishing the year atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He has moved up two places this week to No. 3 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, and could pass Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz with deep runs in both Paris and Turin.
“I’m happy because I knew I had to not just deal with a player today but also with the crowd,” Tsitsipas said after battling Moutet and the French crowd. “It’s not something that I really think about when I play, but it’s kind of present and it’s there. It worked out really well for me towards the end. I was very solid and consistent, knowing that I can really generate more opportunities from my serve.
“I was laser-focused on every single one of the points,” he continiued. “I played some good shots deep and short, and it was a very good ending.”
The Greek dominated the opening set with strong serving and held three break points at 0/40 early in the second. But Moutet’s battling hold changed the complexion of the match and invited the centre court crowd into the action, the 23-year-old delivering with 16 straight points on serve as he put Tsitsipas under pressure.
“I need to stay calm in these moments,” he said of that crucial period. “I’ve had situations like this in the past and I kind of know how it feels like not to be able to push through those situations. But I knew that he’s really zoned in and focused; that’s perhaps his last opportunity to show something. So I was just trying to stay in the moment, waiting for the opportunity perhaps deeper into the set. Eventually, with my qualities as a player, I was able to bring the best out of my game.”
The fifth seed held firm and did not face a break point despite Moutet’s late surge, then turned around the decisive tie-break after falling behind 0/2, winning its final four points to secure his Tour-leading 59th win of the 2022 season.
While Moutet did much of his damage with his deft touch, Tsitsipas’ biggest weapon was his serve as he won 91 per cent (30/33) of points on his first delivery. Thanks in large part to his powerful serving, he spent much of the match on the front foot, hitting 29 per cent of his shots from attacking positions according to the INSIGHTS: In Attack metrics.
Through to the Paris quarter-finals for the second time (2019), the Greek will next face the winner of Thursday’s final third-round match between 14th seed Pablo Carreno Busta and Tommy Paul. Following Paris, Tsitsipas will close the year by making his fourth straight appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, beginning 13 November.
Moutet, who equalled the biggest win of his career by beating World No. 13 Cameron Norrie in a match that finished at 3:03 a.m. in the early hours of Thursday morning, was competing in the third round at an ATP Masters 1000 for the first time.