Tsitsipas To Face Djokovic For Astana Open Crown

Stefanos Tsitsipas (photo: KTF)

ASTANA/STARNBERG, October 8, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece and Novak Djokovic of Serbia will compete in Sunday’s championship match of the Astana Open.

In front of an enthusiastic crowd at Kazakhstan’s National Tennis Center on Saturday, third-seeded Tsitsipas edged out No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to reach his sixth tour-level final of the season. The 24-year-old struck eight aces and broke his rival’s serve two times to prevail after two hours and seven minutes.

“I hit with a lot of variation and mixing and it went my way towards the end,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “I stayed completely within my game. There were a few things I worked out.

“I kept pursuing those shots with a lot of passion and determination. It was not easy, being a set down. To have to deal with a very good opponent on the other side of the net made it an extremely physically battle. I am pleased with myself for being so determined to make it work so well.”

Medvedev retires out of the blue

Later in the day, fourth favourite Djokovic benefited from the withdrawal of No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev. The 26-year-old Russian’s retirement came only moments after Djokovic had clinched a dramatic tie-break to level an entertaining match at 4-6, 7-6(6).

“I really hope that his injury is nothing too serious,” said Djokovic, who looked disappointed and bewildered after Medvedev’s surprise retirement. “I know Daniil, he’s a great guy, he’s a fighter, he’s a big competitor. He wouldn’t retire a match if he didn’t feel that he [could] continue or [if it wouldn’t] worsen his injury. He told me that he pulled an adductor muscle in his leg.

“It was such a close match, particularly in the second set. I would probably say he was a better player on the court in both sets. I was fighting and trying to find a way. I found a way to win the second, but I’m just sad for the tournament and for these people who were enjoying the battle, and for Daniil that it had to end this way.”

After losing eight finals at this level, Tsitsipas is seeking his first ATP 500 trophy in Astana. Djokovic will aim to seal back-to-back titles on Sunday. The Belgrade native lifted his 89th tour-level crown at the Tel Aviv Open last week. Djokovic leads the pair’s head-to-head series 7-2.