Tsitsipas Up And Running In Marseille

Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-2 to claim his first victory at the Open 13 Provence on his third appearance.

The #NextGenATP Greek, searching for form after early losses in Sofia and Rotterdam, won 85 per cent of first-serve points (28/33) to advance to the last eight after just 59 minutes. Tsitsipas improves to 2-0 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Hurkacz, having also defeated the 22-year-old en route to the Next Gen ATP Finals title in Milan last November.

“It was a good match. I enjoyed it. I am moving on.” said Tsitsipas. “It is nice to start so well. It was a ‘no-trouble match’. Everything went smooth. Breaks happened when they had to happen. It was a solid match.”

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Dropping just two points behind his first serve (16/18) to open up a 5-4 lead, Tsitsipas extracted multiple errors from Hurkacz’s backhand to take the first set after 33 minutes. The 20-year-old continued to impress on serve in the second set, with back-to-back service breaks at 3-2 and 5-2 securing a spot in the quarter-finals as Hurkacz fired a forehand approach into the tramline.

Tsitsipas will meet a lucky loser – Sergiy Stakhovsky or Gregoire Barrere – for a place in the semi-finals. Earlier in the day, Barrere struck 17 aces to beat Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic 7-6(3), 6-3 in 88 minutes.

“Every opponent is a serious job, even if he is a lucky loser,” said Tsitsipas. “I will have to consider it as [playing against]… someone who got a second chance. These are the trickiest matches. I will have to [play] smart and play much better than today.”

Mikhail Kukushkin held his nerve to beat fourth-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 7-6(4) in 82 minutes. The 31-year-old Kazakh will face Italy’s Matteo Berrettini or Andrey Rublev of Russia for a semi-final spot.

The 19-year-old Shapovalov hit 18 aces and lost eight of his first-service points (34/42), but was broken in the seventh game of the first set. Kukushkin won the first four points of the tie-break and closed the match on his third match point.

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Two-time former champion Gilles Simon rallied from a set down to beat Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. The 34-year-old Frenchman, who lifted the trophy in 2007 and 2015, will face third seed David Goffin or countryman Benoit Paire in the quarter-finals.

“I played a very good third set,” said Simon. “The beginning of the match was tough, he doesn’t give you any rhythm. It feels good to be in the quarter-finals here.”

In first-round action, French wild card Ugo Humbert knocked out Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 7-6(3) in one hour and 35 minutes. Elsewhere, German qualifier Matthias Bachinger overcame Steve Darcis of Belgium 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and three minutes.

Did You Know?
At this year’s Australian Open, Tsitsipas, aged 20, became the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist since Novak Djokovic at the 2007 US Open.