Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed another big scalp in a breakout season, upsetting Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic to advance to the Rogers Cup quarterfinals in Toronto.
Tsitsipas beat the ninth seed 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 to set up a showdown in the last eight with Alexander Zverev, who beat Tsitsipas in last week’s Washington DC semifinals.
Zverev, the defending champion in Canada, breezed past Russian qualifier Daniil Medvedev 6-3 6-2 to continue his dominance of fellow young players on the ATP tour.
Also winning through to the quarterfinals in Toronto were No.4 seed Kevin Anderson, sixth seed Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov, the No.8 seed.
Dimitrov, who has struggled for form in recent months, ended the run of 20-year-old American Frances Tiafoe, while Cilic subdued 11th seed Diego Schwartzman.
But it was Tsitsipas – who backed up his victory over No.7 seed Dominic Thiem in the second round – that had everyone talking.
“I’ve never felt so many emotions after a victory,” Tsitsipas said after advancing to his first ATP Masters quarterfinal.
“I feel very proud for me, myself, and my country. I’m putting Greece more deep into the map of tennis. So I’m pretty sure I’m making my family proud, all of those people that are watching, my coach, my father. It was a very emotional win.”
Djokovic, who was on a nine-match winning streak thanks to his victory at the All England Club followed by two straight-sets wins in Toronto, rarely looked settled throughout the match.
Yet this was perhaps due to his opponent’s inspired play as much as it was his own lack of feel.
Tsitsipas hit 42 winners in what he described as the best win of his career.
“I knew he had some issues in some particular shots in his game … so I was waiting and I grabbed him like a bulldog and stuck there and executed,” Tsitsipas said. “I knew that at some point he’s going to break, and I just patiently waited for this moment and it happened.”
Stay positive, work hard, make it happen. pic.twitter.com/jmEZcnGQv7
— Stefanos Tsitsipas (@StefTsitsipas) August 10, 2018
Since the beginning of the clay-court season, which he kicked off with a run to the second round in Monte Carlo as a qualifier, Tsitsipas has won 27 of his last 37 matches and improved his ranking in that time from No.71 to No.27.
It has been nothing short of extraordinary progress, a run with highlights including a final in Barcelona, a trip to the fourth round at Wimbledon and last week’s success in DC.
Zverev will prove a difficult challenge.
Since a shock loss to Hyeon Chung at the Australian Open, the German has gone 12-1 against players in his generation – basically, anyone who was part of the “Next Gen” campaign when it launched two years ago, and any player still considered in that category – in the subsequent six months.
He beat Tsitsipas last week 6-2 6-4.
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