PARIS – Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 22-year-old star from Greece, will play in his first Grand Slam final on Sunday.
Tsitsipas survived five sets of testosterone-driven tennis on Friday and averted a touching comeback from Alexander Zverev of Germany on Friday 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the first men’s semifinals. He plays the winner of the heavy matchup between Rafael Nadal, 13-time French Open champion, and Novak Djokovic, world No. 1.
Tsitsipas, a passionate player and person who makes films in his spare time, fought back tears in an interview on the pitch after the match.
“All I can think about is my roots, where I came from a small place outside Athens, my dream was to play here,” he said.
He is the first Greek player to make a Grand Slam final.
Tsitsipas have now beaten two players ranked in the top six to reach the final and have only lost a single set in six matches.
Tsitsipas was in control from the start of the match, breaking Zverev in his first service game and driving towards an early lead. Zverev, 24, a slender and powerful player who has made the semifinal round in four of the last five Grand Slams, rose to the second set and rose to a 3-1 lead, only for Tsitsipas to raise his game even higher.
As Zverev searched for tight angles, Tsitsipas chased every shot. And when he reached the ball, he showed every ounce of creativity.
He has the power to exert intense pressure on an opponent, a sneaky backhand drop shot and at 6-foot-4 a scary net play. He exercised all three at once and pulled out five straight games to take the second set as Zverev was sloppy and sprayed his shots wide and far.