Stefanos Tsitsipas wins ‘battle of the serves’ to dump out Zverev and set up Djokovic final

World number five Stefanos Tsitsipas came back from a set down to avenge his recent defeat against Alexander Zverev.

Tsitsipas lost against the German in the semi-final of the Madrid Open, but battled back from a set down in Rome to avoid successive losses against the same opponent. 

The Greek player sealed the 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory following a gruelling two-and-a-half-hour battle.

Tsitsipas will now target just his ninth career title when he takes on Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final.

Speaking after his win, the 23-year-old told the tournament's official website: "It was a battle of the serves. Battle of being able to take that first shot after the serve and really put quite a lot of pressure to it, which I think I was able to do really well in the third set.

"I was able to return a few on the third a bit more than him, get the ball in play, stay in those rallies, not give away much.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) during the semi-final against Alexander Zverev

"I think at some point I saw he was a little bit impatient, went for a few, and didn't succeed in his effort. I was really trying to stay there as long as possible and make every single one count."

Tsitsipas also had warm words for the capacity crowd, and compared the Italian capital with his homeland, saying: "Rome is closest to my country. It almost feels like it could have been in Athens, it could have been held in Athens. I'm glad that I get people to visit me from the fatherland to see me play here."

Zverev, who lost the recent Madrid Open final against Carlos Alcaraz, blamed tiredness for the defeat.

The German said: "I think my level went down a little bit. I got a little bit tired, to be honest. I played the final Madrid. Played long matches here.

"I mean, I'm not a machine. I'm a human being. This is normal. But he played well in the end. He deserves to win. He played better than me in the second and third set."

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic's greatest wins: Australian Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros

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