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Tsitsipas vs Struff tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Tsitsipas back in action at Sofia Open

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 6 Feb 2019
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas faces Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round of the Sofia Open on Thursday
  • Tsitsipas vs Struff is live from Sofia on Thursday at 7.30pm local/5.30pm GMT
Stefanos Tsitsipas in action at the Australian Open (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas gets his Sofia Open campaign underway as he takes on Jan-Lennard Struff on Thursday.

One of a pair of ‘Next Gen’ stars, alongside Karen Khachanov, to be headlining the Sofia Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas will be the last to get his campaign going in Sofia as he takes on Jan-Lennard Struff in Thursday’s night match. 

World no. 12 Tsitsipas is returning to competition for the first time since his stunning run to the Australian Open semifinals, which saw him score the biggest win of his career over Roger Federer in the round of 16 in Melbourne and back it up with a win over Roberto Bautista Agut to make a first appearance in the final four of a major.

Tsitsipas’s Melbourne run built on a 2018 season which saw him reach the final of the Canada Masters, beating Novak Djokovic on the way; finish runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the Barcelona Open; win his first title at the Stockholm Open, and triumph at the Next Gen Finals as he rose from world no. 91 to world no. 16 over the course of the year. But there is no substitute, in terms of getting one’s name and face out there, for beating one of the titans of the game at a major and although claims of a ‘changing of the guard’ seem to have been premature at the least – Novak Djokovic and Nadal contested the Australian Open final between them and safely handed fairly crushing defeats to a crop of young stars on the way to said final – it still heralded a significant step up for the Greek.

Tsitsipas was among those players crushed by Djokovic and Nadal, in his case suffering an absolute schooling at the hands of Nadal in the semifinals, losing 2-6, 4-6, 0-6 – a loss that doesn’t look better in retrospect, given how much Nadal struggled when confronted with some real opposition in the shape of a sublime Djokovic in the final. It was clearly a defeat that Tsitsipas found tough to swallow, but he will have an opportunity to demonstrate his resilience and commitment to bouncing back when he makes his debut at the Sofia Open on Thursday.

World no. 51 Jan-Lennard Struff booked his own place in the second round with a 6-4, 6-3 win over qualifier Stefano Travaglia. 

Jan-Lennard Struff (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) 
The German, who at 28 has never been ranked higher than world no. 44, a career high which came in May 2017, is looking to make his second ATP Tour quarterfinal of the season in Sofia after reaching the semifinals at the ASB Classic in Auckland in January, where he beat world no. 24 Pablo Carreno Busta. 

Defeated in the first round of the Australian Open by Matthew Ebden, Struff like Tsitsipas is playing the Sofia Open for the first time in 2019. The 6’5” German, who has been consistently ranked inside the top 100 since late 2016, broke into the top 50 in May 2017 after having defeated Grigor Dimitrov on his way to the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, and was a semifinalist in Winston-Salem and St Petersburg the same year. He couldn’t maintain that top-50 ranking but stayed fairly stable throughout a 27-26 2018 season which saw him make the quarterfinals of four ATP Tour 250 events, and the third round of the US Open.

This will be the first ATP Tour meeting between Tsitsipas and Struff, although they played at the Genova Challenger in September 2017 when Tsitsipas defeated Struff 6-2, 6-3. The German journeyman has a big-serving, hard-hitting game, but he is just 7-33 against top-20 players, although it’s worth noting that two of those wins have come on indoor hard courts, and often against erratic big hitters like Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka – not a description that fits Tsitsipas. This should be a match that’s well within the capabilities of the Greek to win. The only question is whether he’s still nursing an emotional hangover from the highs and lows of Melbourne, or whether he’s ready to get back down to work in Sofia.

Tsitsipas vs Struff Sofia Open tennis is live from Sofia on Thursday at 7.30pm local/5.30pm GMT

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Tsitsipas vs Struff tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – Tsitsipas back in action at Sofia Open

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