Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates victory over Novak Djokovic at the Shanghai Masters (PA Sports)
Stefanos Tsitsipas scored a shock victory over Novak Djokovic at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
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Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas dealt a severe blow to Novak Djokovic’s hopes of ending the year as world no. 1 when he defeated the Serb in three sets in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Friday.
Tsitsipas came back from a set down to beat the defending champion 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 and set up a semifinal clash with Daniil Medvedev in Shanghai.
Djokovic got off to an extremely fast start but was slowly reeled in by the Australian Open semifinalist, who took advantage of a double fault from Djokovic when serving to stay in the second set at 5-6 and broke in the fourth game of the decider, never looking back from there as he went on to close out the win in just over two hours.
‘It’s the best comeback that I have ever had probably… It was a very difficult victory mentally too. I wasn’t really thinking that long term that I have to win two sets. It just went step by step. It happened. I broke him, I won the set, I stayed there, broke him again, eventually I got the win at the end. I wasn’t really thinking too much in the future, and I think that helped a lot,’ Tsitsipas said.
The victory means that Tsitsipas has now beaten all three of tennis’s ruling triumvirate in 2019, having defeated Roger Federer on his way to the semifinals of the Australian Open and Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the Madrid Masters.
Djokovic came into the match on an eight-match winning streak after having captured the Rakuten Japan Open title in Tokyo last week, and the left shoulder injury which caused him to retire from a fourth-round clash with Stan Wawrinka at the US Open was not in evidence during the defeat to Tsitsipas.
‘He had the high-quality tennis and he played very well after his serve. He was backing up his serve with really good and aggressive first shots in the rally,’ Djokovic said.
‘I didn’t make him defend enough. I just gave him enough time to really dictate the play from back of the court and he deserved to win.’
By beating Djokovic and reaching the semifinals in Shanghai, Tsitsipas became the sixth player to secure their place at the Nitto ATP Finals, joining a confirmed field of Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, Medvedev and Dominic Thiem – although it came as news to the Greek that that’s what he had done.
Tsitsipas’s season-ending championships debut will crown a season that’s seen him win titles in Marseille and Estoril and reach finals in Dubai, Beijing and at the Madrid Masters.
Defeat for Djokovic means that the Serb now trails Rafael Nadal by 1,280 points in the battle to end the season as the world no. 1, and calculations seem to suggest that Nadal will now return to the top spot after the Paris Masters – and can guarantee finishing the year as world no. 1 if he wins the Paris Masters, despite having withdrawn from Shanghai with a left wrist injury.
Djokovic has runner-up points to defend at both the Paris Masters and the Nitto ATP Finals from 2018 – a total of 1,600 points – while Nadal played neither event last year. The points for both Paris and the ATP Finals drop off on Monday 4 November, six days before the ATP Finals begin.
The victory for 21-year-old Tsitsipas, on a day which also saw 23-year-old Daniil Medvedev beat Fabio Fognini and 22-year-old Alexander Zverev beat Federer, means that the semifinal lineup at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Saturday will be its most youthful for some time, with 26-year-old Dominic Thiem potentially the oldest player featuring in the final four if he beats 23-year-old Matteo Berrettini in the last remaining quarterfinal.
Shock Shanghai Masters victory for Tsitsipas deals blow to Djokovic’s hopes of ending the year world no. 1
Stefanos Tsitsipas scored a shock victory over Novak Djokovic at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. *Geo-restrictions apply. Streams available to customers…
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