Stefanos Tsitsipas opens his Basel campaign on Tuesday when he takes on Spanish left-hander, Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round of the ATP 500 event.
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Tsitsipas has been in fine form of late, reaching the final in Beijing and making the semi-finals at the Shanghai Masters- results which secured him a debut appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Prior to Beijing, the Greek young gun had endured a poor run of results, losing four consecutive opening round matches in Montreal, Cincinnati, the US Open and Zhuhai, but he got back on track in Beijing, and has since put together a 7-2 run. One of those seven wins was against world No. 1, Novak Djokovic in the Shanghai quarter finals.
Qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals is just one of many milestones in an outstanding season for the Greek, who has put together a 45-22 run, claiming titles in Marseille and Estoril, and reaching finals in Dubai, Madrid and Beijing. He has made a few other semi-finals, but the most significant was his sensational run at the Australian Open in January, where he pulled off a stunning fourth round victory over Roger Federer to effectively set up the rest of the year.
The 21-year-old has been a top-ten player since the first week in March- following his runner-up finish in Dubai- and has been as high as No. 5 in the world. Tsitsipas is featuring in the Basel main draw for the second time, having reached the quarter finals in his debut appearance last season.
The world No. 7 opens against Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Tuesday.
Ramos-Vinolas is looking to build on his recent good form, which has taken him back into the world’s top-50 after he had slipped out of the top-100 in June.
A below par opening half of the season featured just the three tour-level quarter finals, all unsurprisingly on clay- Buenos Aires, Rio and Geneva- but he has been a lot better in the latter half.
The 31-year-old excelled in the post-Wimbledon clay-court swing, winning a second career title in Gstaad, reaching the final in Kitzbuhel and the semis in Bastad, while he has also bolstered his ranking with some solid runs on the Challenger circuit, making semi-finals at clay-court meets in Perugia, Genova and Szczecin.
His form on quicker surfaces remained a problem, as he lost opening matches in Winston-Salem and the US Open, but he found some joy on the hard courts of Zhuhai, where he made his first non-clay semi-final of the season. He couldn’t quite build on that in Shanghai and Beijing, winning just one match between the two tournaments.
Can he pull off the upset against Tsitsipas when they meet in Basel on Tuesday?
Tsitsipas won their only previous encounter in Barcelona last year, and on the quick hard courts of Basel, in the form Tsitsipas has been in, the Greek young gun should improve to 2-0 against the Spaniard by the end of Tuesday’s contest.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas is live from Basel on Tuesday, 22 October from 7:00pm local time/ 6:00pm BST