Medvedev, Tsitsipas face off as outsiders sniff French Open chance

PARIS: Stefanos Tsitsipas hopes to stay on course for a first Grand Slam final when he meets rival Daniil Medvedev at the French Open on Tuesday, while the impressive Elena Rybakina is aiming to back up her win over Serena Williams.

Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas is trying to reach a third successive major semi-final, having lost a thrilling a five-setter to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros last year.

Blocking his path is second seed Medvedev, the Russian who hadn’t won a match in four previous visits to the French Open but has looked increasingly assured on clay over the past week.

Medvedev, a runner-up at the 2019 US Open and this year’s Australian Open finalist, holds a 6-1 head-to-head advantage over Tsitsipas.

He beat the Greek in straight sets in the last four in Melbourne in their most recent meeting.

“He does serve extremely well, I have to say. He has improved over the years with his serve. This is going to be something that I will have to face,” said Tsitsipas, who compared Medvedev’s serve to that of John Isner.

“Of course, myself playing well, I feel like I don’t have to think against who I’m facing or not, I just have to play my game, let the rest be witnessed.”

Medvedev could take over the number one ranking if he reaches the final and Djokovic does not.

He has a career win-loss record of 15-20 on clay, but the return of Roland Garros to its traditional May-June slot and far warmer temperatures have helped the Russian shake off bad memories of past editions.

“I’m able with these balls, with these conditions, to make shots that are not going to let my opponent attack me straightaway. Then I can take control of the game and be a great mover on clay,” he said.

“Definitely a better feeling than losing the first round, going home on Tuesday like I think two or three times I lost here Sunday. It’s not a good feeling. I hope it’s going to be better with every year.”