Tsitsipas Powers past Lajovic, Reaches Back-to-Back Finals against Ruud in Barcelona
Stefanos Tsitsipas claims victory over Facundo Diaz Acosta (not pictured). April 19, 2024. Barcelona, Spain. Photo credit: Barcelona Banc Sabadell/Manuel Queimadelos.

World number seven Stefanos Tsitsipas powers through Serbian Dusan Lajovic to reach back-to-back finals against third seed Casper Ruud, who took out Tomas Martin Etcheverry earlier on Saturday for a place in the Barcelona Banc Sabadell championship match.

Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas comes back from a set down to beat World No. 59 Dusan Lajovic on Pista Rafa Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 after two hours and 10 minutes, setting a rematch of last week’s Monte-Carlo Masters final on the red clay in Barcelona.

Assessing the encounter, he commented: “I would say the first game of the second set showed a direction where it felt if I keep up returns and applying constant pressure from the first shot I get to dictate, it might turn around.

It was a close game, and I lost it, but deep in my mind, it was ingrained, that if I continue on the same path, something good is waiting. It turned out I was right. I continued to play that kind of tennis.”

Last Sunday, the Greek player found his feet back on the Principality clay courts to edge World No. 6 Casper Ruud, claiming his third Monte-Carlo Masters title, which marked his return to the top 10 in the rankings.

The Match as It Happened

A tricky first set, decided by small margins, saw Tsitsipas fending a breakpoint to even the score at four apiece.

The set went with serves until the Belgrade-born converted the first break point in the contest to take a clinical 12th game with a backhand winner, closing out 7-5 in 53 minutes.

An inspired performance resulted in Lajovic hitting ten winners to 11 unforced errors compared to his adversary, 15 and 22, respectively.

Tsitsipas stepped up the pressure to start the second set, forcing his rival to save a break point to hold a 1-0 lead.

Nonetheless, the 33-year-old held his nerve, continuing to display his best tennis this season, sending the pressure back to the other side of the net.

Tsitsipas was made to work, saving the first break point he faced in the set with a smooth volley, setting level at 2-2.

In the seventh game, he found an edge as Lajovic double-faulted, capitalizing his chances to convert his first break of serve, and held to a 5-3 advantage.

He found his way back into the contest after grabbing the second set 6-4 in 47 minutes, forcing a decider.

Both players showed signs of fatigue across the final set, but Tsitsipas stayed focused on his task, becoming the more precise player on the court.

He took control of the set, breaking twice on his way to punch a ticket into his fourth final at the ATP 500 event.

He finished with 31 winners, 43 unforced errors, winning 82 percent of the first serve points.

Throughout his campaign in Barcelona, the former world number three moved past Austrian Sebastian Ofner and Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets.

The Athens native dropped his first set in a hard-fought quarterfinal encounter held on Friday, when he rallied from 2-5 down in the third set breaker to beat Argentine Facundo Diaz Acosta, setting a semifinal clash with Lajovic, who took down 16th seed Arthur Fils, also in a three-setter.

Meanwhile, Norway’s top racquet will seek to avenge his loss to Tsitsipas while contesting his third career final on the Masters 1000 level on Sunday at the Barcelona Banc Sabadell.

Earlier on Saturday, the Norwegian defeated 13th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry 7-6(6), 6-4 after one hour and 58 minutes, booking a ticket to his fourth final this season, including Los Cabos, Acapulco, Monte-Carlo, and Barcelona.

The 25-year-old has captured nine of his ten titles on the physically demanding clay surface.

For his part, the Greek is on a 10-match winning streak; tomorrow, both players will bid to triumph at the tournament for the first time.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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