Stefanos Tsitsipas retained an ATP Tour title for the first time on Sunday, beating Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 6-4 to lift his second Open 13 Provence trophy in Marseille.
Tsitsipas broke serve on three occasions and saved four of five break points to take the title in 86 minutes. Since losing his first two ATP Head2Head encounters against Auger-Aliassime, Tsitsipas has evened his series against the Canadian. The Greek also beat Auger-Aliassime at last year’s Rolex Shanghai Masters.
“I played a good quality of tennis today and I showed everyone what I am capable of,” said Tsitsipas. “Serving well, returning well, just being there behind every single ball, executing, dominating and being clever in my decision-making.”
This is the second straight year in which Tsitsipas has lifted the Marseille trophy without dropping a set. The 21-year-old lost in the first round in his first two appearances at the tournament, but has now won eight straight matches at the French ATP 250. Tsitsipas is the first man since Thomas Enqvist in 1998 to win back-to-back Marseille crowns.
“I know [Thomas] pretty well,” said Tsitsipas. “He was our Laver Cup captain… He is a really nice guy. I am really happy that I get to break records and be part of some records. It is what keeps me going in the sport. It makes me hungry for more, in general. I want to go out there and break records and do things that others haven’t done yet. That’s what defines my personality.”
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Tsitsipas improves to 5-5 in ATP Tour championship matches. The 6’4” right-hander has won four of his five tour-level events on indoor hard courts.
Tsitsipas earned an early service break in his first final of the year, striking with depth on his groundstrokes at 2-1 to rush Auger-Aliassime into multiple forehand errors. After saving three break points at 5-3, the Greek served with power and ripped a forehand into his opponent’s forehand corner to convert his first set point.
With pinpoint passing shots, Tsitsipas claimed the first break of the second set at 2-2. Despite dropping serve in the following game, the World No. 6 quickly regained his advantage. Tsitsipas outmanoeuvred his opponent in multiple net exchanges and extracted backhand errors to earn a 4-3 lead. The defending champion converted his first championship point as Auger-Aliassime struck a forehand long.
“I am proud of the fact that mentally I didn’t even crack, not once,” said Tsitsipas. “That was really good. Although I got broken, I wouldn’t say that that was a mental lapse. Personally, I am very happy with my mental state throughout the whole match.”
Auger-Aliassime was aiming to capture his first trophy in five ATP Tour finals. The 19-year-old, who also finished as runner-up in Rotterdam last week, saved match points in his opening two matches en route to the final in Marseille.
”I feel disappointed. You never like losing finals, but now it has been five so it is in my mind,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It is tough, but I think it is just going to make me a better player.
”It is going to build my character and I am going to overcome this challenge one day. I’ll keep working towards that goal. I am working to win bigger tournaments and to achieve even better things, so I am not going to stop here.”
Tsitsipas collects 250 FedEx ATP Ranking points and receives €116,030 in prize money. Auger-Aliassime gains 150 ATP Ranking points and earns €64,225.
“[Winning without dropping a set] makes me very proud. I am not going to try to think about it too much,” said Tsitsipas. “I am just going to continue doing my job, working to make it even better next time. My opponents, I respect every single one of them… It means the world to me to be able to be one of these people that can play well and others can enjoy watching.”