Tsitsipas vs Dimitrov French Open tennis preview, head-to-head and predictions

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov face off in a one-handed backhand battle to see who will make their first French Open quarterfinal.

Tsitsipas vs Dimitrov is live from Roland Garros on Monday 5 October, 12pm local/1pm BST

A first appearance in the quarterfinals of the French Open is on the line when fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Grigor Dimitrov on Monday.

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After an early five-set test against Jaume Munar, it has been smooth sailing for Tsitsipas, who warmed up for the French Open by reaching the final in Hamburg. But he cannot afford to slip against the experienced Dimitrov if he is to make his first Grand Slam quarterfinal since his breakthrough run at the Australian Open.

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Tsitsipas vs Dimitrov: Head-to-head

This is the first meeting between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov.

Tsitsipas vs Dimitrov: Preview

Given that his breakthrough run came at a Grand Slam – the 2019 Australian Open, when he defeated Roger Federer on his way to the semifinals – Stefanos Tsitsipas can hardly be labelled an underachiever on the major stage. But it is the case that while the Greek has climbed as high as world no. 5, won five ATP Tour titles including the incredibly prestigious Nitto ATP Finals and reached an additional seven finals including two at ATP Tour Masters 1000 Series level, Tsitsipas is 7-5 in Grand Slam matches since that first Australian Open run. And in that timespan, he has defeated just one player ranked inside the top 50 in a best-of-five sets match.

Tsitsipas has already done better than he did at the US Open, where he lost in the third round to Borna Coric despite holding six match points, and showed grit by surviving a five-set battle with Jaume Munar in the first round before delivering a polished performance against Pablo Cuevas, who had pushed him hard in Hamburg, in the second (Aljaz Bedene, who retired in the third set, was not much of a challenge in the third round).

Grigor Dimitrov (©PHOTOPQR/LE PARISIEN/Arnaud Journois)

But this fourth-round clash against Dimitrov could be a test – and not just because one gets the impression that Tsitsipas himself is desperate to make a deep run, not least at Roland Garros, where he was crushed to lose 6-8 in the fifth set to Stan Wawrinka last year.
While Dimitrov has yet to make a quarterfinal at Roland Garros, it’s the only Grand Slam he hasn’t reached the semifinals of, and he has a lot more experience than Tsitsipas at this level (it’s his tenth major fourth-round match). Dimitrov played well at the Rome Masters in the run-up, defeating Jannik Sinner on his way to the quarterfinals and a three-set defeat to Denis Shapovalov, and his run through the draw at the French Open has been very smooth, partly because he hasn’t faced the toughest opposition: Three players ranked, in order, 103, 102 and 101, none of whom have taken a set off him (Roberto Carballes Baena, who stunned Shapovalov in the previous round, retired trailing 1-6, 3-6).

This means he has a physical advantage coming into this one, especially having not played the week before the tournament as Tsitsipas did, but may also mean he’s less match-tough than the Greek.

It’s tough to call. Dimitrov and Tsitsipas’s games are superficially similar, and neither really suited to these conditions. Tsitsipas is probably better at powering through these courts, but it feels as though Dimitrov has a physical advantage. The challenge is definitely there for the fifth seed to step up, impose himself on this match and this tournament and book himself a place in the quarterfinals; I’m backing him to do just that.

Tsitsipas vs Dimitrov: Prediction

Grigor Dimitrov admitted it’s unlikely he’ll play the US Open after opening up on his struggles with coronavirus: ‘It’s not a question of what shape you’re in when you get infected.’

The first player to test positive for COVID-19 on the ill-fated Adria Tour, world no. 19 Dimitrov has talked for the first time about the severe impact of the virus on his health and fitness, and revealed it’s unlikely that he’ll be match-fit in time for the US Open.

Dimitrov played his first matches since testing positive for the virus last weekend at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown 2 in the south of France, losing to Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez in the abbreviated format.

In an exclusive interview with Tennis Majors, Dimitrov revealed that he had been unable to practice and had essentially been housebound for over a month.

I’m far [from my best level] for sure. I haven’t played tennis in over a month. The virus was hard on me. I stayed home for about a month. It’s a tough road back.

Dimitrov was not the only player who tested positive for COVID-19 after the Adria Tour, with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic (who organized the exhibition series to raise funds for charity), Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki all reporting positive tests. Frances Tiafoe of the USA and Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild are among other players to have contracted the infection.

But not many have experienced severe symptoms, or opened up about them as Dimitrov has – and his experience should give pause to those who do not believe that COVID-19 can severely affect those who are young and healthy.

I think it’s, I guess, different for everyone. I was not breathing well. I was tired. I had no taste; no smell. Everything you could possibly think of. So it was no fun. To be honest I’m lucky to be on the court right now.

Over five weeks since first revealing he had tested positive, Dimitrov is still struggling to regain his former energy levels.

One day I feel really well and I have about four hours to be out [training]. But then all of a sudden I need to completely shut down take a take a nap or just rest. So I have to go through that process as much as possible. Hopefully I’m going to recover fully.

Dimitrov also told L’Equipe that it is unlikely he will be fit enough to play the US Open, scheduled to begin on 31 August, or the warm-up tournament, the Western & Southern Open, which begins on 22 August.

For everyone, there are a lot of questions, and few answers. For myself, there’s also the physical aspect. Mentally, I could. But to put back three kilos of weight in three weeks, play Cincinnati and the US Open, five sets… it seems to me that’s a little ambitious.

There are days when I am good and where I can practice for a long time, and others where I’m tired a lot.

Dimitrov defeated Roger Federer at last year’s US Open on his way to the semifinals, a five-set match in which his fitness played a key role. But the virus is clearly no respecter of professional athletes.

‘It’s not a question of what shape you’re in when you get infected,’ Dimitrov said.