Shanghai Flashback: Stefanos Tsitsipas dethrones Novak Djokovic

Within a couple of hours, Stefanos Tsitsipas secured a place at the ATP Finals and dethroned Novak Djokovic in Shanghai 2019! Stefanos toppled Novak 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and two minutes, advancing into his fourth Masters 1000 semi-final and helping Rafael Nadal in the year-end no. 1 battle against the Serb. It was the second victory for Tsitsipas over Djokovic in three matches, earning it after facing only one break point and controlling the pace in sets two and three to leave the world’s leading player behind in one of the season’s best encounters in terms of quality. The Greek fired 34 winners and 22 unforced errors while the Serb stood on a 28-26 ratio, taking just two points less than his younger opponent but not doing enough to cross the finish line first.

Stefanos had the advantage in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, going for his shots and matching Novak’s performance to emerge at the top and set the semi-final clash against Daniil Medvedev. Both players lost only six points behind the initial stroke in the first set, and Novak secured a break in game two when Stefanos sprayed a backhand error. That would be the only break chance that Stefanos offered Novak in the entire encounter, wasting his opportunity in game seven and preparing everything for another assault in the second set after Djokovic claimed the opener with a service winner at 5-3.

Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2019 Shanghai quarter-final.

The Greek lost nine points in six service games in set number two, taming his shots nicely and keeping the pressure on Novak. The Serb kicked off the set with two comfortable holds before facing troubles at 2-3, fending off two break points and closing the game with a service winner. Serving in game 12, Novak squandered three game points and got broken when his forehand landed long to hand the set to Tsitsipas and send momentum to the other side of the court. Like set number two, Novak stayed away from break chances in the decider, unable to produce six holds and reach a tie break. Stefanos broke him in the fourth game when Novak sprayed a forehand error and held at 15 in the next one to confirm the lead and take a big step towards the finish line. Serving at 4-2, the Greek produced another fine hold, showing no sign of nerves in those moments and sealing the deal with a smash winner at 5-3 for one of the biggest wins in a career. 

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