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The seventh-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas powered past Alexander Zverev 7-6(2), 6-4 in a big-serving battle on Thursday at the French ATP Masters 1000 event.
Tsitsipas struck 37 winners, including 10 aces, to notch his 50th tour-level win of the season and simultaneously seal his spot at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.
With his one-hour, 59-minute triumph, Tsitsipas improved to 9-4 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series with Zverev. The 25-year-old, who reached the semi-finals in Paris in 2022, will take on Karen Khachanov next after the 16th seed overcame qualifier Roman Safiullin 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
“It’s awesome. What a great relief to finally get that spot,” said Tsitsipas after sealing his Turin place for the fifth consecutive year.
“I’ve been working extremely hard the whole year to be in Turin, and it’s a moment of relief that I’ve made it to one of my favourite events of the year. I get the opportunity to play in front of my Italian fans, but also get some Greek people in.
“I’m thrilled to be playing good tennis. I’m humbled in victory now and I really want to keep going strong and show some of my potential out there on the Bercy court.”
After a strong first half of the season, Tsitsipas has struggled in recent months to find his best level. The Greek went 4-6 after lifting his 10th ATP Tour crown in Los Cabos in August, but he showed signs of his best form in semi-final runs in Antwerp and Vienna leading into this week’s Masters 1000 event in the French capital.
Tsitsipas made a lightning-fast start on Thursday inside Accor Arena, opening a 5-2 lead thanks to a break of Zverev’s serve in the second game. He had to retain his composure after Zverev roared back into the set, however, and Tsitsipas did so in style in the tie-break to move ahead.
Zverev was left to rue another lapse on serve early in the second set. Tsitsipas broke in the first game and this time did not let his lead slip as he served out without facing another break point. It was Tsitsipas’ first Top 10 victory of the season, a welcome boost for the Greek against an elite rival as he chases his third Masters 1000 crown before he turns his attention to Turin.
Despite the disappointment of defeat, Zverev remains in a strong position to join Tsitsipas in the Nitto ATP Finals lineup. The German remains seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, with a 340 point cushion from ninth-placed Hubert Hurkacz. However, both Hurkacz and eighth-placed Holger Rune are still alive in the Paris draw.