After coming back from two sets down in his opening match at the French Open, can Stefanos Tsitsipas keep things…
After coming back from two sets down in his opening match at the French Open, can Stefanos Tsitsipas keep things simpler against Pablo Cuevas?
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Pablo Cuevas | French Open R2 | 1/10/2020, 4pm BSTTsitsipas 3-1 13/5 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Tsitsipas vs Cuevas is live from Roland Garros on Thursday 1 October, 5pm local/4pm BST
It was always going to be a tight turnaround for the players who had reached the Hamburg Open final on Sunday to be ready to play and win at the French Open on Tuesday, but nobody quite expected both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev to have to dig themselves out of 0-2 holes – both successfully doing so for the first time in their careers.
Tsitsipas, now the highest seed in his quarter after Daniil Medvedev’s first-round exit, will hope to keep things simpler and shorter as he takes on Pablo Cuevas, a classy clay-courter but one against whom he has a 3-0 record.
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Tsitsipas vs Cuevas: Head-to-head
Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the head-to-head 3-0 with Pablo Cuevas, and has not lost a set to the Uruguayan.
Their two most recent matches took place on clay, including a 7-5, 6-4 win for Tsitsipas in Hamburg last week.
Tsitsipas vs Cuevas: Preview
After an excruciating defeat at the US Open when he lost six match points slip by in a five-set defeat to Borna Coric, Stefanos Tsitsipas had to be proud of the way that he fought back against Jaume Munar on Tuesday. Trailing 4-6, 2-6 to the Spaniard, Tsitsipas looked down and out, but dug deep to come back to win 4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 13 minutes.
The ATP Finals champion still has not made it back to the quarterfinals of a major since his breakthrough semifinal run at the Australian Open last year, coming closest at last year’s French Open when he was edged 6-8 in the fifth set by Stan Wawrinka in the last 16. But with fourth seed Medvedev going out in the first round, Tsitsipas now has an opportunity to be the semifinalist from the only quarter of the draw without Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem or Rafael Nadal in it.
That’s a long way off, of course, but after playing Hamburg last week and doing well there – a necessary boost to his confidence and form after that US Open defeat and another loss at the Rome Masters, this one to Jannik Sinner – Tsitsipas will not want to go the distance any more than he has to and will be hoping to keep things much more straightforward against Cuevas.
A top-20 player in 2016, after making a spectacular comeback from career-threatening injury issues, Cuevas has won six ATP Tour titles on clay including the Rio de Janeiro 500 in 2016, and made four ATP Tour finals besides, including Estoril last year where he was denied by Tsitsipas in the final. He is 5-22 against top-10 players, but those five wins include victories over both Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal on clay; he has made the third round of the French Open four of the past five years, and had a solid four-set victory over Henri Laaksonen in the first round.
And yet, Tsitsipas does enjoy this very solid record against him – although if you saw their Hamburg clash last week, a very high-quality affair, you’ll know that that match was very close before Tsitsipas managed to get the win. The difference was more precise and effective serving from Tsitsipas, and the fact that he saved all five break points he faced while converting both of those he managed to create on Cuevas’s serve. I don’t think the conditions prevailing at the French Open will particularly suit either player, but Tsitsipas’s serve gives him the advantage. A fairly close three- or four-set match, with Tsitsipas the winner.