Novak Djokovic has clinched a Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-final win against Stefanos Tsitsipas 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, despite being a set down before rain postponed the match to the following day.
In what can only be referred to as a match of two halves, Tsitsipas came out strong on Friday night against the Serbian, who made some grave errors to cost himself the first set.
Djokovic’s bad luck continued into the second set where he lost his third game, resulting in the World No. 1 being a game behind with Tsitsipas next to serve. The Greek never got his chance to serve, however, as heavy rain hit the Italian capital, forcing the game to be postponed to Saturday.
The following day, Tsitsipas continued his strong run of form to into a 4-2 lead in the second set. While the Greek looked to finish the game in two sets, Djokovic expertly came from behind to win two marathon games on Tsitsipas’ serve, pushing the match to a deciding set.
Tsitsipas twice led by a break in the deciding set and served for the match at 5-4, but Djokovic rallied on both occasions to take a 6-5 lead. As Tsitsipas served to force a final-set tie-break, the World No. 1 fired a backhand winner down the line and played with consistent depth to extract crucial Tsitsipas errors.
“There are many things to say about today or yesterday’s match. It kind of felt like we played two matches… The one yesterday, where he was the better player. He started better today also. I managed to somehow to hold my nerves [and] break his serve in the important moments in the second and third sets,” Djokovic said in his post-match interview.
“The support of the crowd was amazing. It was great to play in front of a crowd. [It was a] fantastic atmosphere. It was a bit of luck, a bit of mental strength and the right tactics at the right time. One shot, not even a point, one shot really decided the winner today. I am just glad to be on the better side.”
Djokovic added that the match was probably his toughest of the year so far.