Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his impressive start to 2021 on Tuesday with a 7-6(4), 7-5 victory against Egor Gerasimov in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.
The second seed remained calm throughout the one-hour, 54-minute match, battling through the Belarusian’s hot patches to make the second round in Rotterdam for the second consecutive year.
Tsitsipas, who hit 31 winners, is now 7-1 on the young season. This is the Greek star’s first tournament since reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open, where he rallied from two sets down in the quarter-finals to stun World No. 2 Rafael Nadal.
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Playing the aggressive Gerasimov indoors was a tough test for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion. Just last week, the 28-year-old beat former World No. 1 Andy Murray at the Open Sud de France.
But Tsitsipas rode the momentum waves in the match and was more opportunistic. The Greek faced more break points, saving six of his opponent’s eight opportunities. And in the key moments, he used his experience to prevail against the World No. 76.
Gerasimov frequented the net and tried to take the action to Tsitsipas at every opportunity. In many cases, that paid off. But on Tsitsipas’ first match point, he scrambled to retrieve an overhead and eventually forced a backhand volley error from the Belarusian.
Tsitsipas will next play Hubert Hurkacz, who defeated Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-6(6) earlier in the day. The second seed leads the Polish No. 1 5-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, in which their past four meetings have gone to a deciding set.