Paris Masters 2019: Djokovic enters semis subduing Tsitsipas
On Wednesday, not squalls of driving rain nor sleet or hail, but the sheer consistency of Novak Djokovic thumped Stefanos Tsitsipas in their 2019 Rolex Paris Masters quarter-final contest. He was comprehensively beaten by the world number one who defeated him 6-1, 6-2. Tsitsipas looked a bit out of sorts when Djokovic was 3-0 up in just ten minutes, winning eight points in a row.
The Serbian played with a lot more freedom in the following games after breaking Tsitsipas early in the set. If it was the couple of double faults that cost Tsitsipas his first service game, it was Djokovic's heavy hitting that blew Tsitsipas away in the later stages of the set.
Soon, the Greek's retreat turned into a rout. Tsitsipas' forehand had deserted him. He was making more unforced errors than hitting winners. It was in the 6th game of the first set when the world number seven held to love that the crowd realized even Tsitsipas could be the server. Till then, Djokovic dominated all the games played.
Needless to say, it was extremely difficult to set that set aside and start anew, and Tsitsipas is no Rafael Nadal!. No wonder Tsitsipas started feeling the heat right at the start of the second set. A time violation warning in the 3rd game of the set, when Tsitsipas was down 15-40, only delayed the inevitable as the Greek was broken even after dragging that game to a deuce. That was probably the last straw for the out-of-sorts rising star. The writing was on the wall, already.
The 6th game of the 1st set and the 7th game of the 2nd set were the only two games which Tsitsipas won convincingly. Tsitsipas never seemed to make any adjustments to his game and was just going through the motions as he kept losing points in chunks. The Greek sensation had to play catch-up whenever he served. It is no exaggeration if Tsitsipas' efforts are described as an attempt to simply choke down this defeat.
In just under an hour Djokovic trumped Tsitsipas' baseline play. The 21-year-old Athens native looked as if he was an 'illegal immigrant base-liner' during the encounter. He never felt comfortable changing directions and digging deep into rallies, just as he lunged his tennis racquet at his opponent's short and inviting returns.
In sharp contrast, Djokovic's shots were both powerful and deep. The Serbian maintained that teasing length with extraordinary consistency, a feature which Tsitsipas could never match.
Tsitsipas left the centre court in a hurry, after such a humiliating defeat at the hands of an opponent whom he had defeated twice this year. Who would not want to do so especially after being packed off to the locker room? But he need not lose heart. He should know that he has lost to none other than Djokovic and not some other player.
Hopefully, when Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov face off in the semi-final, it would be a tennis experience guaranteed to delight the Paris crowd. This maybe the season-ending ATP 1000 tournament. But there is more tennis to come.