Stefanos Tsitsipas’ title defence at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters continued to gather pace Thursday when the Greek overcame Laslo Djere 7-5, 7-6(1) to reach the quarter-finals.
The World No. 5 did not drop a set en route to his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the clay-court event in 2021 and has been in ruthless form once again this week, backing up his opening win against 2019 champion Fabio Fognini with a consistent display against Djere on Court Rainier III.
“I knew I had to be alert,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “He is someone who competes very well on clay. He stays consistent and puts a lot of balls back and I really had to work hard for this win. It was important to get a good dynamic start in the tie-break and stay in rallies and take my chances when they appeared.”
Tsitsipas served well and remained patient throughout, waiting for his chances before raising his intensity in the crucial moments as he caused the Serbian damage with his heavy forehand to triumph after one hour and 52 minutes. According to Tennis Data Innovation’s Balance of Power, Tsitsipas played from an attacking position 23 per cent of the time compared to 19 per cent for Djere, which allowed him to control the action more often (Learn more about Balance of Power).
The 23-year-old has captured seven tour-level titles in his career, but has not lifted a trophy since Lyon last May. Tsitsipas will continue his bid to change that when he faces 12th seed Diego Schwartzman in his 13th Masters 1000 quarter-final.
The Argentine ended #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti’s run with a hard-fought 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory on Court des Princes. In an entertaining match full of stunning shotmaking, it was Schwartzman who prevailed in two hours and 34 minutes to reach the last eight for the second time in Monte Carlo (2017).
“Both [Schwartzman and Musetti] can compete well on clay,” Tsitsipas added. “They both have a good game for clay courts and all I have to do is be ready and show up with good mentality and do my job with passion and dedication.”
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The third seed now leads Djere 2-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, having also defeated the World No. 62 in Acapulco in February. The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion arrived in Monte Carlo off the back of a disappointing fourth-round exit at the Miami Open presented by Itau, but he has quickly adjusted to the clay at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
In an even opening set, Djere played proactively as he looked to take the clash to Tsitsipas. The Serbian matched the third seed’s ball striking from the back of the court but faulted at the key moment, with Greek breaking in the 12th game when his depth on return caused Djere problems.
Fuelled by momentum, Tsitsipas continued to soak up Djere’s powerful forehands in the second set. The Greek demonstrated great defence as he scampered around the baseline to stay in points before he turned the tables in rallies with his aggressive striking. According to Infosys ATP Stats, Tsitsipas won 95 per cent (19/20) of his first-serve points in the set and held his nerve in the tie-break to advance.
Djere was aiming to reach the quarter-finals at a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career, having defeated Maxime Cressy and Lorenzo Sonego en route to the third round.