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Tsitsipas Wins First Clay-Court Title In Estoril

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Stefanos Tsitsipas gained vital confidence on the European clay on Sunday, beating Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 7-6(4) at the Millennium Estoril Open for his first clay-court title.

Greece’s #NextGenATP star was too solid from the baseline for Cuevas, a six-time clay-court titlist, and the 20-year-old took advantage of the Uruguayan’s struggles on serve to win his third ATP Tour title and second of the season. Both of Tsitsipas’ previos titles had come indoors – in February at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, and last October at the Intrum Stockholm Open.

Tsitsipas had won their prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting at 2017 Antwerp and was in control for the first set and a half. The two were mired in one-handed backhand baseline battles when Tsitsipas broke in the fourth game as Cuevas launched a forehand long.

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The 33-year-old Cuevas landed only 53 per cent of his first serves in the opener, and the Greek capitalised, running around his backhand to start the point with deep forehands.

Tsitsipas looked to be cruising to the title, up a break and serving at 4-3 in the second. But the reigning Next Gen ATP Finals titlist lost his way and was broken for the first time in the match during a stretch of nine consecutive points won by Cuevas. Tsitsipas saved a set point at 4-5, Ad-Out, however, and the two traded breaks until the tie-break, where the Greek regained his level.

He will receive 250 ATP Rankings points and €90,390. Cuevas, who was a lucky loser, will receive €48,870 and 150 ATP Rankings points.

Tsitsipas heads to back-to-back clay-court ATP Masters 1000 events, the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, full of belief.

Did You Know?
Tsitsipas is only the second No. 1 seed in the tournament’s five-year history to win the title (Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in 2017).

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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