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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, October 26, 2021


Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas saved three set points in the tiebreaker sparking a 7-6(6), 6-4 triumph over Grigor Dimitrov in his Vienna opener.

Photo credit: Erste Bank Open Facebook

Magic tricks typically aren't part of Stefanos Tsitsipas' arsenal.

Today, Tsitsipas pulled off a first-set escape act and second-set levitation to conjure comeback in Vienna.

More: All Aboard the Real Federer Express

The top-seeded Greek saved three straight set points in the tiebreaker fighting off Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(6), 6-4 to reach the Vienna second round.

Tsitsipas avenged a three-set loss to Dimitrov in Vienna last year setting up a round-of-16 clash vs. American Frances Tiafoe, who topped Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 6-4.

French Open finalist Tsitsipas flipped the script on Dimitrov with a determined tiebreaker and dynamic second-set raising his 2021 record to an ATP-best 55-16.

Tennis Express

World No. 3 Dimitrov dug deep fighting off a break point and hitting some superb running strikes in a stubborn seven-minute hold for 3-2.

On the full-stretch, a sliding Dimitrov sent a backhand down the line that touched the baseline as he held at love for 4-3.

The 6'4" Tsitsipas cranked his crosscourt forehand with sidespin to open the court for his net rushes. Dimitrov drilled 10 aces and permitted just five points on first serve in a high-quality match that saw the Bulgarian earn three break points in the opening set. Tsitsipas stared down the stress and sent the set into the tiebreaker.

Asserting all-court athleticism, Dimitrov threw down a soaring smash and a biting slider serve for a 4-1 lead in the breaker. When the Bulgarian banged a forehand winner down the line he held triple set point at 6-3. 

Bursting off the mark, Tsitsipas ran down a drop shot and knocked off a forehand volley to save the first set point. The Greek attacked and drew a running forehand pass that narrowly missed the mark wide to deny the second set point.

Dimitrov will surely have nightmares about set point number three. Displacing Tsitsipas with the kick serve, Dimitrov got the mid-court forehand he wanted, but over-hit it wide squandering the third set point.

A crackling forehand drive volley gave Tsitsipas a set point at 7-6 and when Dimitrov missed the mark with a forehand, Tsitsipas snatched the 62-minute opener that seemed in his opponent's reach moments earlier.

Deadlocked at 4-all in the second set, Tsitsipas boldly erased break point following a forehand drive volley with a smash. A clever drop shot and a touch backhand pass helped Tsitsipas withstand the stress test for 5-4.

Opening the ensuing game with a tense double fault, Dimitrov sailed a forehand to face double match point.

Tsitsipas, who had whipped his crosscourt forehand so sharply throughout the match, flipped the script freezing Dimitrov with an inside-out forehand winner to wrap a one hour, 41-minute triumph.

No. 4-seeded Casper Ruud did not face a break point defeating Lloyd Harris 7-5, 7-6(2). The 22-year-old Ruud, who has won five titles this season, raised his record to 50-13. Ruud will face either Lorenzo Sonego or lucky loser Dominik Koepfer in the round of 16.


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