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Tsitsipas vs Monfils ATP Sofia live streaming, preview and tips - Second seed Tsitsipas aims for second semi-final of 2019

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 8 Feb 2019
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Gael Monfils is live from Sofia around 7.30pm local time on Friday (6.30pm GMT)
  • Tsitsipas won their only previous clash in three sets in Shanghai last year
Stefanos Tsitsipas (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)

Stefanos Tsitsipas continues his bid for a second career title when he squares off against veteran Gael Monfils in the Sofia Open quarter-finals on Friday night.

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An entertaining match-up awaits in the Sofia Open quarter-finals as World No. 12 Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on former World No. 6 Gael Monfils for a spot in the semi-finals.

Playing his first match since his sparkling run to the Australian Open semi-finals a couple of weeks ago, Tsitsipas shrugged off any thoughts of an emotional hangover by defeating the dangerous Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets in his Sofia opener on Thursday. Struff has beaten the likes of Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka on indoor hardcourts and represented a significant challenge, but Tsitsipas produced a workmanlike performance to subdue the powerful German, facing just one break point and firing down 10 aces during the 7-6(5) 6-4 victory in one hour and 29 minutes.

Given the circumstances, it was an impressive win for Tsitsipas, who is now facing the somewhat unknown pressure and expectation of being one of the ATP’s hunted following his semi-final showing at the Australian Open, where he stunned Roger Federer in the fourth round and backed that win up by toppling Roberto Bautista Agut before suffering a crushing loss to Rafael Nadal. By his own admission, that straight sets defeated rocked Tsitsipas, but the young Greek appears to have already put it behind him as he targets a second ATP title this week in Sofia.

That semi-final at Melbourne Park was the latest in what has been a meteoric rise for the 20-year-old over the last 12 months. Ranked outside the top 80 this time last year, Tsitsipas exploded onto the scene about midway through 2018 when he made his first ATP final at the 500-level Barcelona Open and followed that up by making the fourth round of Wimbledon. However, those results would be mere curtain raisers to what he achieved at the Canada Masters in August, with Tsitsipas conquering four top 10 players on the bounce - including Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev - to reach his first Masters 1000 final, where Nadal once more stopped him in his tracks.

Tsitsipas would go on to capture his first ATP title in Stockholm and close the season out by winning the Next Gen ATP Finals crown in Milan over Alex de Minaur to finish the year at No. 15. Now up to No. 12 after his semi-final at the Australian Open, Tsitsipas is swiftly charging towards the top 10 - can he keep his momentum going in Sofia this week?

Making his debut at the Sofia Open, Gael Monfils has been playing some great tennis to reach the quarter-finals, beating Viktor Troicki and Mikhail Kukushkin in straight sets in his first two matches. It’s the first time Monfils has won back-to-back matches since reaching the Vienna quarter-finals at the end of 2018 after losing in the second round of the Australian Open to Taylor Fritz in four sets in his only other tournament in 2019.

Live Stream: ATP Sofia Open tennis live from Sofia

Currently ranked No. 33 in the world, Monfils has been trying to rebuild his ranking for the last couple of years after injuries caused him to slide following his career-best season in 2016, where he where he won the biggest title of his career at the ATP 500 Citi Open and made the U.S. Open semi-finals (along with qualifying for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals) to reach a career-high ranking of No. 6. The Frenchman was restricted to far less tournaments in 2017 because of injury and ended that year at No. 46, which was his lowest ranking since 2013.

Monfils put together a decent year in 2018, winning the title in Doha, finishing runner-up in Antwerp, reaching semi-finals in Buenos Aires and Antalya and making the fourth round of Wimbledon - along with capturing the Kaohsiung Challenger title - but he was unable to break back into the top 30, and this year the 32-year-old finds himself in the same sort of predicament, trying to claw his way back up the rankings but struggling to generate any significant momentum at the biggest tournaments.

Tsitsipas and Monfils have played once before, with the Greek coming away with a hard-fought three-set win at the Shanghai Masters last year. It wouldn’t surprise me if this match went the distance as well. Tsitsipas is clearly playing the better tennis of the pair at the moment, but he’s still a way off blitzing his way through draws, while Monfils has been playing at a pretty high level so far this week. Monfils has a great chance if he can disrupt Tsitsipas’s rhythm with his unpredictable game - and then it will be up to the 20-year-old if he has the fight and desire in an ATP 250 event two weeks after making a Grand Slam semi-final to solve the puzzle and battle his way to victory.


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Tsitsipas vs Monfils ATP Sofia live streaming, preview and tips - Second seed Tsitsipas aims for second semi-final of 2019

Stefanos Tsitsipas continues his bid for a second career title when he squares off against veteran Gael Monfils in the Sofia Open quarter-finals on Friday night.

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