Stefanos Tsitsipas avenged a disappointing Wimbledon defeat to Frances Tiafoe at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 6-3, 6-4, edging into the third round in straight sets.
Seeded third in his Olympic debut, Tsitsipas took on Tiafoe at the All England Club in his first match since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros. Still reeling from the consequential loss of his first major final despite winning the first two sets, the 22-year-old was noticeably deflated against his American opposition on No. 1 Court last month. The subsequent Wimbledon defeat was still on his mind even as he transitioned back onto clay to play an ATP 250 tournament in Hamburg two weeks ago.
Looking far more clutch on the key points on Tuesday, he regrouped in emphatic style to pull off a decisive 77-minute rematch victory beneath the Ariake Coliseum roof.
Tsitsipas and Tiafoe emerged on time for their second-round clash as rain delayed action around the grounds. Perhaps overeager at the opportunity to replicate his Wimbledon stunner over the Roland Garros runner-up, Tiafoe missed a volley long to hand the Greek the lone break of the opening set.
Battling through an epic rally on set point, Tsitsipas sent Tiafoe tumbling to ultimately move ahead and only continued building on his lead in the second set.
The Greek star proved utterly unbreakable after saving a break point in the first game of the match, only dropping one point on serve in the second set and a total of three points in his final eight service games.
A missed forehand return from Tiafoe put Tsitsipas over the finish line and conclude a near-perfect afternoon for the world No. 4, who struck a whopping 28 winners to just 16 unforced errors. Tiafoe made just one more error but couldn’t dictate play against his higher-ranked rival off the ground, managing just 13 winners and three aces to Tsitsipas’ nine.
Closing in on the medal rounds, the No. 3 seed will next face either No. 14 seed Ugo Humbert or Miomir Kecmanovic, both of whom advanced through their first rounds without dropping a set. Humbert won his only previous encounter with Tsitsipas in a dramatic three-setter at the Paris Masters last fall, while Kecmanovic would be facing the Greek for the first time.