Tennis

ATP Finals: Tsitsipas stuns Federer to reach final

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Follow @cnnsport It was Alexander Zverev who knocked out the legendary Swiss 12 months ago en route to the crown, and on Saturday it was the turn of Stefanos Tsitsipas. He became the youngest finalist on his ATP Finals debut since Hall of Famer Jim Courier in 1991. The Greek talent won a gargantuan ninth game of the opening set as part of a 6-3 6-4 victory over tennis' best supported player, a day after Tsitsipas fell in an extended thriller against another of the game's behemoths, Rafael Nadal. "It's a great moment not just for me, for my country, my team," Tsitsipas, the lone top-10 player in Greek history, told reporters. "I'm proud of myself, how hard I fought today, how concentrated I stayed in the break points. "Didn't crack under pressure. I was very composed and very mature in my decisions."

"I threw it away again"

Following Friday's near three-hour duel, world No. 6 Tsitsipas said he still had enough left in the tank to face 20-time grand slam winner Federer. He wasn't bluffing as it turned out, although how things might have been different had the 38-year-old Federer broken in the first game when given the opportunity. The O2 is a concert and entertainment venue and Tsitsipas could very well be a headline act as a magician. Such has been his penchant for escaping from tight situations. Overall he saved 11 of 12 break chances — after saving all 12 when he stunned Federer in the fourth round at January's Australian Open. If that wasn't enough, he fended off seven of nine versus Nadal. "He didn't double fault, he didn't do anything silly, and he's tough as nails," Federer said. "I'm frustrated I couldn't play better, and when I did and fought my way back, I threw it away again."Meanwhile Tsitsipas went a tidy three of four on break points himself after not breaking Federer in their past two tussles in Dubai and Basel. It certainly felt like Federer was well on his way to a record-extending seventh title at the ATP Finals when he eased past Novak Djokovic on Thursday in their highly anticipated Wimbledon final rematch but it wasn't to be.

Not as easy as before

The 17-year age gap between Federer and Tsitsipas was the biggest in the tournament's history — and perhaps it told on court. "When the matches come, it's maybe not as easy as it was 10, 15 years ago where you're able to play very good day in, day out," said Federer. "Maybe you need to do extra effort sometimes for that to happen. "Things were complicated today. I've got to do an even better job at figuring these moments out, because the opportunities were there today. "They were there in other moments as well this season, at Indian Wells or Wimbledon." If it's any consolation to him, Tsitsipas figures to be a grand slam winner in the future. And maybe soon. He has beaten the "Big Three" of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic this season. Tsitsipas, whose mom was a former tennis player, will face either Zverev or Dominic Thiem on Sunday.Usually a lightning quick starter, Federer was instead rusty, Saturday. Tsitsipas saved a break chance in the first game and immediately broke in a game where Federer — incredibly for him — missed a pair of overheads. This after putting in a serving masterclass against Djokovic, the game's top returner. "Getting broken by missing two smashes in one game, that hasn't (happened) in a long, long time or ever," said Federer. "So that was tough." He also found it difficult on his forehand and never quite got the consistency on that side, hitting 17 unforced errors and seven winners. More break points passed Federer by in the seventh gameRead More – Source