3 talking points from Stefanos Tsitsipas' SF win over Alexander Zverev as Greek reaches maiden Major final

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Alexander Zverev in a thrilling five-setter on Friday to advance to his maiden Grand Slam final. The Greek won 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 and will next face Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic in Sunday's showpiece.

Neither player started well as errors flowed from both rackets. But an early break in the first set put Stefanos Tsitsipas in control. The Greek upped his game in the second set to take a commanding lead, but Zverev refused to back down and claimed the next two sets to level proceedings.

The German had three break points in the opening game of the deciding set but squandered them. That gave Stefanos Tsitsipas a shot in the arm as he secured the decisive break in the fourth game before closing out the match.

On that note, here are three key takeaways from Tsitsipas's win:

#1 Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas both show early nerves

The pressure of being one step away from a maiden Grand Slam final seemingly got to Stefanos Tsitsipas, who made plenty of uncharacteristic errors in the first set.

Alexander Zverev, too, was a bit conservative from the back of the court and both players could muster a total of five winners in the opening set. Meanwhile, they combined for a whopping 22 unforced errors.

Both players eventually loosened up as the match progressed.

#2 Stefanos Tsitsipas' passive play allowed Zverev back into the match

Stefanos Tsitsipas raced to a two-set lead after which the magnitude of the occasion seemingly got to him. The Greek's level did not drop too much but his groundstrokes lacked penetration, allowing Alexander Zverev to take charge of rallies and pin him into his backhand corner.

While Daniil Medvedev tried to employ a similar tactic in their quarterfinal match, Tsitsipas managed to counter it with an array of deep crosscourt slices. But this approach backfired against Zverev, who began to dominate using his powerful backhand.

A refusal to go down-the-line against Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic could prove costly for Tsitsipas as both can target the Greek's one-handed backhand.

#3 Stefanos Tsitsipas saves three break points in the first game of the fifth set to turn match around

Stefanos Tsitsipas after beating Alexander Zverev
Stefanos Tsitsipas after beating Alexander Zverev

Alexander Zverev had all the momentum after capturing the fourth set and the German raced to a 40-0 lead in Tsitsipas' opening service game of the decider.

The Greek, however, reeled off five points in a row to avoid an early break of serve. Being broken at that stage would have likely been a crushing blow for Tsitsipas.

However, staving off those break points filled the Greek with confidence and he managed to raise his level once again. Tsitsipas broke Zverev in the fourth game and held his nerve to close out the win.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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