Tsitsipas grew up watching Federer and learnt enough to outplay him in the semi-final of the Nitto ATP Finals. Roger Federer lost 6-4, 6-3 to an inspired Stefanos Tsitsipas who managed to impose his aggression on a flat footed Federer.
Roger’s serve and break point conversion was not good enough to turn the tide.
Roger was given a taste of his own brand of aggressive tennis and accurate serving by Tsitsipas. Federer’s first serve also deserted him, and his break-point conversion was only 1 for 12. Tsitsipas, in the meanwhile, not only served effectively but also converted 3 of 4 break chances he created. Roger is a deplorable 1-for-24 in converting break point opportunities against Tsitsipas, in 2019. With this semi-final win, Tsitsipas evened the record against Fedrerer to 2-2.
Roger played aggressive, but made too many unforced errors.
Federer, unsurprisingly, played over 30% of the points inside the baseline and, therefore, generated quite a few unforced. Roger appeared a little sluggish, and even missed two overhead smashes in the early games of the first set. Federer is usually rock solid with his overhead smashes and couldn’t recollect when he had last missed two overheads in a game.
Tsitsipas grew up watching Federer, and learnt from the Maestro himself.
Stefanos moves like a panther, volley reasonably well, and returns aggressively. He serves big and may do better by dropping his right elbow a little less while serving. His style is quite similar to Roger’s, because he grew up watching and copying the Maestro. Tsitsipas takes the ball early and has an aggressive all court game like Federer’s.
Stefanos Tsitsipas acknowledged Roger in his on court interview and said “I grew up watching Roger, wishing I could step out and play him. It’s not easy to copy. I mean this guy does magic on the court. For me, I am trying to do half of what he does. He can be so good sometimes.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas versus Dominic Thiem.
The final of the event on Sunday is between Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas, and without any of the Big Three. Both finalists have a single handed backhand, but Stefanos takes the ball a little earlier than Dominic on both wings. Dominic is mentally strong and even improved his record against Zverev to 6-2 with the semi-final win. If Tsitsipas wins the title here, he’d then be a threat in all slams, except the clay, in 2020.
Is this the changing of the guard?
The Big Three – Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic – have all suffered defeats at the O2 arena this year. Could this be the hyped changing of the guard, we keep hearing about? We, at 138mph, believe it surely is the start of the changing of the guard, if not the actual changing. The Big Three will still rule, but Medvedev, Tsitsipas, and Thiem are ready to claim one of the slams in 2020.