Stefanos Tsitsipas put up a serving clinic to halt the run of the red-hot Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals of the 2021 National Bank Open on Friday. Tsitsipas won 6-1, 6-4 to book his place in the last four, where he will face Reilly Opelka.
The Greek racked up eight aces in nine service games but, more impressively, lost only four points on his first serve. Tsitsipas amassed an 86% success rate on that shot, leaving Ruud pretty helpless at the other end.
Tsitsipas also used the serve-and-volley tactic to great effect against the Norwegian, who was often well behind the baseline while returning. When asked about his aggressive serving approach against Ruud, Tsitsipas said that he is trying to be more "daring" with his tennis.
"Well, that's the way to go," Tsitsipas said. "I have to be more daring and more confident and learn from my previous encounters and matches that I had against players like him and players in my age group."
According to the Greek, experience is necessary to identify just how to play in certain situations.
"So I feel like, you know, there are certain things that you have to follow and proceed in order to get better when it comes to serving, when it comes to returning, when it comes to mixing up the game," Tsitsipas said. "It all comes experience, it all comes with matches in your pocket, it all comes with eventually getting to play more and more on the tour."
Tsitsipas was quite demonstrative during his match against Ruud, especially in the second set. He celebrated numerous points with an energetic fist pump directed towards his box.
When asked to elaborate on his demeanor during the match, the 23-year-old began by saying that fist-pumps are his go-to celebration. Tsitsipas said he likes to feel an adrenaline rush after winning a point or playing a good rally.
"Well, fist pumps come naturally, and that's something that expresses me when I'm out on the court," Tsitsipas said. "I like being pumped. I like being energized after good points that I have won or put much effort into."
The Greek reckons that one of tennis' biggest selling points is having the freedom to express yourself after every point. He also insisted that it is important to release any pent-up tension.
"Yeah, it's what makes our sport so unique and makes you stand out from the rest of the sports," The Greek added. "You get to be so expressive, and you can always show emotion after the point."
"There are other sports that do that too," he continued. "Sometimes you need that to get all of the emotional tension on the outside, letting things flow better afterwards.
"I'm happy where my game is right now" - Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas is a former runner-up at the Canadian Open, having finished second best to Rafael Nadal in 2018.
When asked to compare his run in 2018 to his showing this week, Tsitsipas pointed out that he is yet to make it to the summit clash this year.
"Well, I still have, you know, a few more matches to go, so not much to compare there, honestly (smiling)," Stefanos Tsitsipas said.
The Greek has had a brutal draw in Toronto this time around, coming up against the likes of Ugo Humbert, Karen Khachanov, and Casper Ruud. Tsitsipas said he was delighted to have navigated his way past such tricky opponents.
"I'm happy where my game is right now, and every single opponent that I had to face is someone that has played good in the past and has a level to face me straight," the Greek said.