Stefanos Tsitsipas is finding his rhythm at Mastercard Hopman Cup, the world No.15 surviving a tough test against Frances Tiafoe to secure a valuable point in Greece’s eventual 2-1 victory over USA.
In a battle of two 20-year-olds, Tsitsipas triumphed 6-3 6-7(3) in two hours and 15 minutes.
— Hopman Cup (@hopmancup) December 31, 2018
It was the Greek’s first meeting with Tiafoe, who is also touted as one of the game’s next generation of champions.
While each man showcased their vast natural talent in the entertaining first singles rubber, it was Tsitsipas who was able to channel it successfully.
He sealed the first set with one of 14 aces he’d eventually record for the match and claimed victory with a stunning backhand passing shot that was one of 39 total winners.
The performance was especially welcome after Tsitsipas lost to world no.91 Cameron Norrie in his first match against Great Britain.
But as temperatures climbed to above 30 degrees for the first time at Mastercard Hopman Cup 2019, the Greek moved freely and coped well with conditions.
“I felt a bit uncomfortable in the first match I played. I couldn’t last long. I felt like I was out of breath,” Tsitsipas said.
“But today I felt really comfortable playing the rallies. My shots felt better. In general I felt much more confident, and more me.
“Frances told me he felt the exact same thing I felt in my first match. I told him it was probably because of jet lag and the heat combined.”
There was no such struggle for Serena Williams, who claimed Team USA’s first point at Mastercard Hopman Cup 2019 with a 7-6(3) 6-2 win over Maria Sakkari.
But there was an impressive comeback for Greece, Sakkari and Tsitsipas defeating Williams and Tiafoe 1-4 4-1 4-2 in the live mixed doubles to secure the tie 2-1.