Tsitsipas v Medvedev: Things we learned

No.5 seed reaches a third consecutive Grand Slam semi-final with victory over world No.2 Daniil Medvedev

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Roland Garros 2021, quarter-final© Julien Crosnier/FFT
 - Chris Oddo

Stefanos Tsitsipas kept up his punishing form on clay by pushing past No.2 seed Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5 on Tuesday night on Court Phillipe-Chatrier to book a semi-final date with Alexander Zverev of Germany.

The Greek jumped out to an early lead and fought off a surging Medvedev in sets two and three to improve to 4-0 lifetime in Grand Slam quarter-finals.

Here's what we learned from Tsitsipas' Day 10 triumph over the Russian.

A fast start for Tsitsipas

Tsitsipas has made a habit out of fast starts in 2021, and Tuesday night was no exception in Paris.

The Greek served flawlessly in the opener, winning 17 of 20 first-serve points and executing an 83 per cent first-serve percentage. The No.5 seed won a total of 20 of 24 points on serve in the set, behind 11 winners, six of which came from the forehand side. 

In 46 matches in 2021, Tsitsipas has taken the opening set 36 times, and won all but three of those matches. 

Tsitsipas’ performance earned him a much-needed victory over Medvedev, a player that entered the tournament with a 6-1 lifetime record against Tsitsipas, including a three-set victory in their only meeting on clay, in 2019 in Monte-Carlo. 

"I was even kind of surprised the first set," Medvedev said after the match of Tsitsipas' level.

"That's why it went so easy on his side because I didn't expect such great level from him, especially I felt like I played good guys like [Alexander] Bublik, [Cristian] Garin, Tommy Paul actually, that played good from baseline, and I felt that I was on top of them in the rallies so I felt I could continue doing this today like on the hard courts.

"It was not the case so I had to change."

A strange finish for Medvedev

Medvedev did change, incorporating more variety, hitting with more pace, and if it weren't for clutch shot-making by Tsitsipas late in the second and third sets the match might have turned out differently.

The contest hung in the balance with Medvedev serving at 5-6, 40-0 in the third set, and threatening to force a tiebreaker. But Tsitsipas never stopped fighting and won the next five points, including a stunning match point that saw the Greek rip a winner off an underarm serve from Medvedev. Yes you heard that correctly - an underarm serve on match point!

"A very millenial shot - so true," Tsitsipas said of Medvedev's last-ditch trick. "Well, once he took kind of like a short break, I saw he kind of stopped. I felt like there was something coming up, so at that point I think I got prepared for it."

Medvedev defended his decision.

"I was thinking about it during the whole match, like that maybe in the important point I could do it because my opinion that he was quite far back in the court, so that can always work," he said. "But I didn't see the opportunity before, and this one I felt that he was kind of on top of me, so I thought it's going to be a good choice to bring him surprise."

Daniil Medvedev, Roland Garros 2021, quarter-final© Clément Mahoudeau/FFT

Stef hungry for more

Tsitsipas has now reached the semi-finals at Roland-Garros in two consecutive years, and he has reached the last four of the last three majors.

The Greek, now 4-0 in major quarter-finals, is developing a comfort level in the business end of the Grand Slams. He has won 15 of his last 17 matches at the majors and will bid for his first career Grand Slam final when he faces Zverev in the semis. 

"I feel privileged that I'm in that position, and I feel obviously I've put in a lot of daily hard work and has been a key element of me being here," Tsitsipas said of achieving three straight Grand Slam semi-finals, before adding: "But you know, my ego tells me I want more."

A good run for Medvedev

Medvedev was disappointed with his loss today, but the world No.2 says he can leave Paris with his head held high.

He entered the tournament with an 0-4 lifetime record at Roland-Garros, but finally flourished on the terre battue, winning four straight matches to reach the quarter-finals.

"Every time I don't win a tournament, it's kind of a disappointment," he said. "But before coming here, as I said, first time I came here it was Thursday or something, I was feeling good straight away, so I was like, 'I can do good results.' But before coming here, if anybody would tell me I would be in quarters losing to Tsitsipas in a tough match, I would sign. I will not lie, I would sign, especially being 0-4 in the first rounds before.

"So I think great tournament, great fight today. Was fighting until the last point."