Roland Garros 2021: Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas preview, head-to-head and prediction

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas
Iman Guha

Match details

Fixture: (6) Alexander Zverev vs (5) Stefanos Tsitsipas

Date: 11 June 2021

Tournament: Roland Garros 2021

Round: Semifinals

Venue: Paris, France

Category: Grand Slam

Surface: Red clay

Prize money: €17,171,108

Match timing: 2.50 pm local time, 12.50 pm GMT, 8.50 am EST, 6.20 pm IST

Live telecast: USA - NBC Sports / Tennis Channel | UK - ITV | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP

Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas preview

Over the past week and a half, Paris has been witness to a number of unlikely adventures.

For instance, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was the last man standing in a section of the draw that featured two-time Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem and Geneva Open champion Casper Ruud. And Daniil Medvedev, who hadn't won a single match in four previous visits to the French capital, won four this time around - overcoming the likes of Chile Open champion Cristian Garin and the in-form Reilly Opelka in straight sets.

However, Davidovich Fokina and Medvedev's fairytale runs came to a halt on Tuesday at the hands of Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas respectively. Zverev and Tsitsipas will now lock horns in a blockbuster semifinal encounter on Friday.

Alexander Zverev
Alexander Zverev

Despite being seeded sixth, Alexander Zverev entered the 2021 French Open as the favorite in the third quarter of the draw. However, he appeared to be heading for an early exit when he dropped the first two sets of his opening-round encounter against Oscar Otte.

The German battled back to claim a five-set victory, and has not dropped a set since.

Zverev entered his quarterfinal match against Davidovich Fokina on a 12-set winning streak. But for some reason, he struggled to find any rhythm for the first half an hour. Davidovich Fokina, in his first Major quarterfinal, also looked woefully out of sorts.

Nine games into the match, they had both been broken thrice. But the German broke once again in the 10th game to take the first set.

Davidovich Fokina wasn't familiar with the big stage, and that showed. Whether it was because of physical fatigue after playing some grueling matches in the lead-up to the last-eight clash, or simply the pressure of the situation, but the Spaniard's game soon fell apart.

Zverev's, on the other hand, returned, and he ran away with the rest of the match for the loss of just two more games. In the process, the German stretched his set win-streak to 15.

Stefanos Tsitsipas after his win over Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals
Stefanos Tsitsipas after his win over Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals

Like Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas also began his Roland Garros 2021 campaign as the favorite from his quarter of the draw. The 22-year-old is inarguably having the best season of his career; he is currently leading the ATP Race to Turin rankings, which is a good indication of his consistency.

The clay swing has been a big ally in Tsitsipas' rise. The Greek entered the French Open with a 16-3 record on the dirt this season, and in the first week of the tournament, gave little reason to dispute his billing.

Tsitsipas reached the final eight without too much fuss, but his quarterfinal opponent Medvedev presented a match-up he hasn't particularly enjoyed in the past.

Coming into the match, Tsitsipas trailed Medvedev 1-6 in their head-to-head. And while there was no doubt over who the better player was on clay, the Russian did win their only previous meeting on the surface.

But Tsitsipas emphatically underlined his credentials as a title contender on Tuesday. He combined offense and defense to start strongly, and never let up.

Medvedev kept up with Tsitsipas from the second set onwards but the Greek's brilliance shone through in the crunch situations. He closed out the match in straight sets, avenging his defeat at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas head-to-head

Alexander Zverev beat Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier this year in the finals of Acapulco
Alexander Zverev beat Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier this year in the finals of Acapulco

Stefanos Tsitsipas leads Alexander Zverev 5-2 in their head-to-head.

The pair have only met once on clay - at the 2019 Madrid Masters, where Tsitsipas won in three sets. Alexander Zverev won their only encounter this year -- in the finals at Acapulco on hardcourt -- in straight sets.

Friday's encounter will be their first at a Grand Slam.

Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas prediction

Elo ratings provided by Tennis Abstract were used to generate a tournament forecast prior to the start of Roland Garros.

Alexander Zverev entered the tournament at 2018 Elo, and his tournament-adjusted Elo is 2194. Stefanos Tsitsipas, on the other hand, entered the tournament at 2047 Elo, and his tournament-adjusted Elo is 2140.

The difference in their scores equates to a win probability of 57.71% for Alexander Zverev.

But with the two players showcasing nearly the same level of play, their head-to-head could be a decisive factor. Additionally, while Zverev has played outstanding tennis in all his matches in the tournament, he has also suffered blips in almost each of them.

Tsitsipas, on the other hand, has maintained a consistently high level throughout. That might give him the edge in the important points of such an even contest.

Zverev is expected to win around 64% of his service points, while Tsitsipas is expected to win around 67% of his.

Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in 4 sets.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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