Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maxime Cressy were the protagonists of a two-set thriller at the Stockholm Open, which brought the best out of the Greek player to take the win, advancing to his 13th quarterfinal of the season.
In his on-court interview, he stressed: “I really had to hang tight in there, and I delivered the shots that I had to in that second tiebreak, which was very crucial.”
“He was serving extremely well, catching the lines, being very precise, and I really went for it in that one.”
The World No. 5 is playing at the ATP 250 tournament for the first time since 2018 when he lifted his maiden trophy on Tour at the event.
Back in action since falling to Novak Djokovic at the Astana Open final early in October, Tsitsipas kicked off his campaign on Swedish soil against an inspired opponent.
The highly competitive matchup saw both players bringing the best out of one another, displaying some of their best tennis, and pushing the limits through two dramatic tiebreaks.
A tight opener set the pace of a top encounter, decided by small margins.
The serve-and-volleying challenged the Greek player, applying pressure on his rival to open a 4-2 advantage. However, the 9-time ATP titlist regrouped and fought back to steal a 7-6(5) win.
Excelling in their game, the players continued to rally into the second set, which led to a second tiebreak.
The 24-year-old held his nerve to save three set points, making a difference with his consistency, before converting his fifth match point to put out Cressy, booking his ticket into the quarterfinals.
Strong behind his serve, the Athens native won 91 percent of his first-serve points.
In addition, he converted one of three breakpoint opportunities, firing seven aces and committing just one double fault.
Tsitsipas, who received a wild card to play at the event, currently leads the Tour for wins (53) this season, having captured his second Monte-Carlo Masters title by mid-April (on clay) as the Mallorca Championships trophy late in June (on grass), on his tournament debut.
Elsewhere, second seed Cameron Norrie rallied to beat Aslan Karatsev 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-4, also advancing to the quarterfinals. The Briton will play seventh seed Holger Rune, who cruised past Chile’s Cristian Garin in straight sets.
Meanwhile, Canadian Denis Shapovalov overpowered Swiss qualifier Antoine Bellier 6-4, 7-5 in 83 minutes while home favorite Elias Ymer edged German Oscar Otte in three sets; next, he will face third seed Frances Tiafoe.
For his part, the Firenze Open runner-up J.J. Wolf picked up a straight-set triumph against Serbian Alex Molcan and will meet fifth seed Alex de Minaur - who clinched his 150th career victory at tour-level this week, on Thursday.