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  • Writer's pictureKanzah Maktoum

Tsitsipas Triumphs: A Monaco Masterclass

Pictured: Stefanos Tsitsipas

In sunny Monte-Carlo, where the azure waters shimmer just beyond the arena’s edge, one of the first of the clay season tournaments unfolded. The final match of the Monte-Carlo Masters was a stage for the dominant performance of World №12 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Casper Ruud entered the match riding the wave of a monumental victory, having defeated World №1 Novak Djokovic in a stunning upset. It was the Serb’s first career loss against Ruud in six games after double-failing on match point, 6–4 1–6 6–4.

“Just a little bit in a state of shock right now,” said Ruud after winning the biggest match of his career. He became the first Norwegian to defeat a №1 in ATP rankings history.

Perhaps that shock didn’t wear off, as after getting the first point in, Ruud was on defence for most of the final. To add to that, Tsitsipas’ forehand was devastating. Each point was earned on pure grit, with the Greek not blinking an eye at Ruud’s strategic attempts and dictating play.

It was, however, not too smooth for the Greek player. An inside-out forehand, a classic Tsitsipas move, was called out on the first set, giving Ruud the point. Nevertheless, as the match progressed, Tsitsipas’s command over the court remained unyielding. Ruud’s attempts to rally were met with Tsitsipas’s relentless aggression and shooting precision. He was easily outmanoeuvred, ending the first set 6-1 in 36 minutes.

Ruud, did, however, improve and put up a bigger fight in the second set. But several times, the Norwegian seemed not to expect the ball to come back with the same force he sent it, leaving him with too much ground to cover. You would expect with a high forehand rate, that he was in control of the match, but his efforts weren’t enough to match the Greek’s, and with a final formidable forehand, Tsitsipas won with straight sets 6–1 6–4.

This is Tsitsipas’ third title in the principality and he joins some of the greats, namely Rafael Nadal (11), Bjorn Borg (3), Thomas Muster (3) and Ilie Nastase (3).

After ending 2023 with a back injury and bowing out of the final tournament, his return to the winner’s circle has not been easy, despite what looked like a cruise to the largest tournament triumph for him in two years. After the match, he sat, overwhelmed, with his head in his hands.

“I can’t thank enough my family and friends … for making this possible. The trinity is even more special than the first or second time,” said Tsitsipas. “This is purely unbelievable for me. Capturing that win today was nerve-wracking. I really wanted the trinity so I got it. I’m extremely happy today.”

“I am glad I presented on court and showed some ruthless tennis. From the beginning to the end my play was cohesive and I was able to blend in a lot of different shots.”

Tsitsipas will improve to №7 on the ATP Rankings when they are released on Monday.

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