03:21 PM GMT October 08, 2018
Stefanos Tsitsipas, who last week qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals in November, lived to fight another day on Monday when the 10th-seeded #NextGenATP star worked his way past France’s Gael Monfils at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. The 20-year-old Greek triumphed 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes for a second-round meeting against Russia’s Karen Khachanov.
“It was a weird game, lots of service breaks [and] many long rallies in the match,” said Tsitsipas. “Gael has a rhythm that's not very comfortable when you're on the other side of the net. You never know what to expect. Sometimes the ball comes slower, sometimes the ball comes faster. So it confuses you. There are not many players that play this way.
“It was very, very hard, because he was serving pretty well. My serve was all right. I managed to open the court well with my serve, take the forehands and try to come to the net. But I managed to stay patient. I got broken when serving for the match in the third set. I remained calm and focused and then went back in the next game and broke him, which I believe is a big strength from my side. It shows good character.”
Tsitsipas saved three set points on serve at 5-6 in the first set, prior to winning the first six points of the tie-break, and later broke Monfils in the eighth game of the decider in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head clash. Former World No. 6 Monfils responded immediately to get back to 4-5, but then dropped to 15/40 and served his fifth double fault of the match to hand Tsitsipas his 34th victory of the season (34-24).
“I have improved a lot since last year physically, mentally,” said Tsitsipas. “My game has changed. I am more aggressive now. I'm actually stronger. I feel stronger. My body has changed since last year. I have [now played] lots of matches in the ATP main draws, lots of wins which gave me confidence. I believe in myself a little bit more.”