Tennis Emcee. Andy Taylor. Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2018
[Q] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) def  Richard Gasquet (FRA) 63 64
19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas is the real deal. He and his father, Apostolos have developed an all-around game that’s truly entertaining to watch up close. His accuracy and shot-selection are exemplary, and after four straight wins to start the season, including a victory over former champion Richard Gasquet, he’s riding a wave of confidence.
On Sunday, he emerging from qualifying with a double tiebreak victory over Sweden’s Elias Ymer. New Year’s Day, he downed 2014 Doha Semifinalist Florian Mayer. Then on Wednesday night, he played fearless tennis against 2013 Doha Champion Richard Gasquet, dispatching the former champ in two sets.
Dissecting a former champion
One couldn’t help but feel sorry for Gasquet on Wednesday night. The Davis Cup Champion was playing great tennis, but Tistipas couldn’t miss. From cross-court passes, to ridiculous marksmanship up the line and exquisite volleys at the net, Stefanos was in the zone.
The break chances came early, and after several knocks on the door, Tsitsipas finally busted through to go up 4-2. The World #91 held the rest of the way to take the first set.
In the second, Gasquet threw everything he could at Stefanos, but the Greek was unaffected. Sticking to his game plan, he moved the Frenchman all over the court and rarely missed his spots. At 3-all, Stefanos broke again, then held serve the rest of the way.
Next Up: Quarterfinals. Dominic Thiem
Last year in Antwerp, Stefanos Tistsipas earned his first top-10 win, defeating David Goffin to reach the Semifinals. In just his second Tour-level Quarterfinal on Thursday, the 19-year-old will get his shot at a top-5 opponent. He and Thiem have never faced each other.
ON MONDAY, THIS 19-YEAR-OLD QUALIFIER DEFEATED 2014 DOHA SEMIFINALIST FLORIAN MAYER TO REACH TONIGHT’S ROUND OF 16 MATCH. A FORMER JUNIOR WORLD #1, HE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH SEASON LAST YEAR, LEADING THE ATP WORLD TOUR BY QUALIFYING FOR A REMARKABLE EIGHT TOUR-LEVEL EVENTS, INCLUDING ANTWERP – WHERE HE EARNED HIS FIRST CAREER TOP-10 WIN, DEFEATING DAVID GOFFIN TO REACH THE SEMIFINALS. A 4-TIME FINALIST ON THE ATP CHALLENGER TOUR, HE WON HIS FIRST CHALLENGER TITLE LAST YEAR IN GENEVA, MADE HIS GRAND SLAM MAIN DRAW DEBUTS AT BOTH ROLAND GARRIS AND WIMBLEDON, AND QUALIFIED FOR THE NEXT GEN ATP FINALS AS AN ALTERNATE. HE STARTED 2017 RANKED OUSIDE THE TOP-200, AND BY NOVEMBER, CLIMBED TO A CAREER-HIGH RANKING OF #87 IN THE WORLD. COMPETING IN HIS FIRST QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN, FROM GREECE, PLEASE WELCOME – STEFANOS TSITSIPAS
FIVE-YEARS-AGO, THIS 31-YEAR-OLD WON HIS 8TH ATP WORLD TOUR SINGLES TITLE ON THIS VERY COURT, AT THE 2013 QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN. HE NOW OWNS 14 CAREER TITLES; AND LAST FEBRUARY, COMPETED IN HIS 28TH CAREER FINAL, AND 5TH SUCCESSIVE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH IN MONTPELLIER. RANKED AS HIGH AS #7 IN THE WORLD, HE’S AN OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALIST AND REIGNING DAVIS CUP CHAMPION! JUST FIVE WEEKS AGO, HE HELPED LIFT FRANCE TO ITS FIRST DAVIS CUP TITLE IN 16-YEARS, TEAMING WITH PIERRE-HUGHES HERBERT TO DELIVER THE ALL-IMPORTANT DOUBLES RUBBER IN FRANCE’S 3-2 WIN OVER BELGIUM. A 3-TIME GRAND SLAM SEMIFINALIST, YESTERDAY HE DEFEATED VICTOR ESTRELLA BURGOS TO REACH TONIGHT’S ROUND OF 16 MATCH. COMPETING IN DOHA FOR THE 5TH TIME – FROM FRANCE – PLEASE WELCOME 2013 QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN CHAMPION – RICHARD GASQUET