Monte Carlo crown defending after ‘top two’ for Tsitsipas aiming | Tennis News

MONTE CARLO (Principality of Monaco): Stefanos Tsitsipas said he is aiming to finish the season’s top two after defeating his Monte Carlo Masters title in a hard-fought victory over Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Sunday’s final.
Third seed Tsitsipas hammered 21 winners and made only 11 unforced errors in the Monaco sunshine to win 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in one hour and 36 minutes.
It was the 23-year-old Greek’s eighth ATP title and the first 11 months as he made the perfect start to the clay-court season.
“I can definitely have a great season and maybe finish it in the top two,” said Monaco, whose triumph in the World No. 5 clay on his fourth tournament success.
“This year I really want to have good results on grass and on hard courts because I’m sure I can score big ATP points.
“If I manage to win matches with as much consistency as I can, I think I have a great chance of winning the top two. That’s one of my big goals.”
The ATP rankings in Tsitsipas are currently above Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal.
Tsitsipas became the sixth player to win back-to-back Monte Carlo Masters in the Open era, emulating Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Thomas Muster, Bjorn Borg and Ilie Nastase.
“It’s great, especially because the fans were there. It was a livelier than last year,” said Tsitsipas, who beat Andrey Rublev in the 2021 final, which closed behind closed doors due to the Covid pandemic.
He is gearing up for another tilt after losing the French Open title at the end of last year’s Roland Garros to two sets by Djokovic.
“I think my tennis is excellent on all surfaces, but it adapts to better clay,” added Tsitsipas.
Davidovich Fokina had knocked out world number one Djokovic earlier this week but could not repeat those tricks in his first ATP final, losing the third time in as many meetings with Tsitsipas.
“I’m always thinking about the final one day here … I hope to be here again next year,” said Davidovich Fokina, who also reached the quarter-finals last year after retiring after one set against Tsitsipas.
The world number 46 struck first on Sunday, breaking the third game, but the Tsitsipas hit straight back with a magnificent forehand to level the first set 2-2.
The set stays on until game eight, when the Tsitsipas broke as Davidovich Fokina fired into a backhand the tramlines.
The Greek star wrapped up the opener with a hold to love, capped off by an ace.
World number five Tsitsipas carved out two break points in the second set of the first game, and took a baseline shot spinning long sent by Davidovich Fokina.
The underdog continued to battle hard, though, as the fourth game in the breaking back of the Tsitsipas framed a backhand into the crowd, with 22-year-old Davidovich Fokina waving in his arms.
But Tsitsipas continued to put pressure on the Spaniard and took his third break point of the season to lead a marathon game 5-4 and tee up the chance to win the title.
Tsitsipas produced a nervy game, though, and Davidovich Fokina powered away a smash to extend the match.
The second set went into a tie-break, where Tsitsipas raced into a 5-1 lead with a shot of the net which the clipped net cord and landed on the sideline.
Davidovich saved Fokina one championship point, but the Tsitsipas secured the trophy by asking him for a second time after a spectacular passing shot with some defensive defense.

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