August 13, 2021
TORONTO (Reuters) – The ‘Big Three’ of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal all decided to sit out this week’s Masters 1000 event in Toronto but Stefanos Tsitsipas has provided plenty of buzz as he stormed into the semi-finals of the U.S. Open tune-up on Friday.
The French Open finalist continued the stellar form he has displayed all season during a 6-1 6-4 thrashing of sixth-seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud that gave Tsitsipas his tour-leading 45th victory of the year.
The 23-year-old Greek, who enjoyed a breakthrough run to the Toronto final in 2018, looked very comfortable against Ruud and later said there was not much more he could have better.
“It was very close to being an excellent game. My intentions were clear from the very beginning,” said third seed Tsitsipas, who had Ruud on the back foot right from the outset.
“I was not doubting myself in any way and kept things simple. Just played clean, aggressive tennis.”
Tsitsipas, who many feel could be the player that eventually breaks the domination of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal, said there is no way to ignore the pressure and high expectations he faces but would not want it any other way.
“I was prepared for it, and I was sort of experiencing from a young age playing juniors, transitioning to the pros. It is something that you build something, something that you, I guess, know how to deal better over time,” said Tsitsipas.
“In the beginning it comes as a kind of something that you’re not really expecting at that level, but eventually you pick up and, you know, it becomes your new habitual life.”
Tsitsipas will next face unseeded American Reilly Opelka.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)