The Russian roots won in Monte Carlo

Stefanos Tsitsipas was able to defend last year’s title at the Monte Carlo Masters by winning his final battle with Spaniard Alejandro Davidovic-Fokina. Curiously, both tennis players have Russian roots.

Tsitsipas defended his title in a battle with Davidovic-Fokina

Saturday’s two semifinals at the Monte Carlo Masters varied in lineup and intensity. The first was a match between two unseeded players. The Spaniard Alejandro Davidovic-Fokina was 6-4, 5-4 in a tie against the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, but he did not serve for the match. However, after losing the second game on the tiebreak and going into the third game 0-2, the Spaniard turned the game around and prevailed 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 and made his first step into the ATP Tour leaderboard event at the Masters. In the other semifinal, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas met who should have met according to the rating: No. 2 and No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. No real fight came out there. Although Zverev had some breaks, Tsitsipas was in control, played both sets with confidence and won 6-4, 6-2 in 1 hour and 15 minutes.

It should be noted that Tsitsipas unwittingly helped Russian Daniil Medvedev in his absentee battle to retain his second place in the ATP rankings. If Zverev had beaten Stefanos on Saturday and then won the title on Sunday with 1,000 points, the German would have become No. 2 in the world a week later, when Medvedev’s points for Barcelona 2019 are burned out. Alexander remained unhappy with the defeat and his performance: “I had a little trouble serving on Friday because of an injured leg. I guess I was kind of limited in what I did. And Stephanos played 10 times better than me, so he deserved to win. That’s all I can say. I got sick in Miami, I got a little injured here. Those things happen out of my control, which annoys me a little bit.”

Last year’s Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas had played with Spaniard Alejandro Davidovic-Fokina twice before this year’s final and won both times, at the same tournament in 2021 in the 1/4 final and in the 1st round of Rotterdam 2022. It should be noted that both Monte Carlo 2022 finalists have Russian roots, only Stefanos defends the colors of Greece, and Alejandro – Spain. Tsitsipas was wary of a third round match against the Spaniard who knocked out world number one Novak Djokovic in the second round: “It will take more than that to win. He’s in a good shape now, he’s got a rhythm. We’ve played him before, he’s a good opponent. I’ve had some serious battles. I will try to prepare well for this final. I know he has improved a lot since our last meeting. I know I have to play my best tennis to win.

Alejandro started his final match more aggressively, taking his serve and then breaking his serve, 2-1. However, Stefanos was not disturbed, he evened the situation – 2:2, and in the eighth game he took another serve and then the whole set – 6:3 in only 31 minutes.

Tsitsipas kept his pace after the break in the second set and he continued his attacks, not letting his opponent seize the initiative and force him into long sets. The Greek immediately led with a break, 2-0. However, a slight loss of concentration and a few mistakes in his game led to Stefanos allowing the Spaniard to win 2-2. He remained tied for quite a long time until in the ninth game the Greek seized on another player’s serve and won it by the third break point – 5:4. However, Tsitsipas could not serve for the match. Davidovic-Fokina, supported by the crowd, literally clung to this game and achieved a reverse break – 5:5. At this point Stefanos also received a reprimand from the referee for coaching. Anyhow, Tsitsipas was stronger in the tie-break game: 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in 1 hour and 37 minutes.

That’s how Stefanos Tsitsipas defended his title at last year’s prestigious Masters in Monte Carlo. That year he defeated Russian Andrei Rublev in the final and now is stronger than Spaniard Alejandro Davidovic-Fochina. In addition to the 1000 rating points, Stefanos will receive a cheque for €836,335. As for Davidovic-Fokina, she’ll be in the top-30 for the first time on Monday.