Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed his first ever ATP crown in Stockholm with a relatively comfortable win over Ernests Gulbis.
The 20-year-old from Greece beat his opponent from Latvia 6-4 6-4, and it could not have gotten better for the Athens-born player as he not just won his own maiden title but also the first ever for a Greek player
However, this time there was no Nadal in his way, and he put on an efficient and effective display against the 145th-ranked player on the tour. The match turned out to be an even contest, with both players showing their full range of groundstrokes, but it was Tsitsipas who made the crucial breakthroughs at the key times in the match.
He saved a break-point in the first game of the final, and the opponents both held serve comfortably in the rest of the first set, and in what was on the lines of a tactical match, with both players not risking too much. The pair stayed pretty much on the baseline, trading rallies, not looking to attack the net or take the chance of a powerful pass when facing serve.
That all changed in the 10th game, as Gulbis served to stay in the first set and he was broken. Tsitsipas, probably sensing his moment, decided to up his attack more and had two set points. The Latvian lost concentration and made a few errors, and after a 20-plus shot rally, he hit a backhand out and the Greek claimed the first set.
The second and what turned out to be the final set of the match, mirrored the first almost to a tee.
The first nine games of the match, again, went to serve, with easy holds on both sides, with mainly straight forward baseline rallies, with the occasional trips to the net. However, yet again, with Gulbis serving 4-5 down to try and stay in the contest, he again, inexplicably lost his composure and for the lack of a better term, gave away the match and the title.
Three unforced errors by the Riga born player, gave Tsitsipas four match points.
He did not need a second invitation to strike, and he forced the play just that bit more, with some more power on his game, and at the end of another rally, Gulbis hit a backhand into the net, and Tsitsipas had won the match!
The sheer ecstasy was etched on his face for all to see, as he threw his racket in the air with the joy of victory.
Tsitsipas had a 100% record in this final on break chances converted and showed his clinical nature to claim his and his nation’s first ever ATP crown. He currently has a career high ranking of 15 and he will be one of the favourites going into the NextGen Series Finals in Milan next month.
However, there could be bigger and better things on the horizon for this up and coming player on the tour, including a Top 10 spot and possibly an ATP World Tour Finals place.