Stefanos Tsitsipas returned to action for the first time since his impressive Australian Open run with a hard-fought win over German Jan-Lennard Struff at the Sofia Open.
Enjoying the backing of the Bulgarian crowd, the Greek second seed had to dig deep before booking his place in the quarterfinals with a 7-6(5) 6-4 win.
“For the first time I play as if I was at home,” said 20-year-old Tsitsipas, who reached the semifinals at the Australian Open last month.
“I felt confident and I hope I will continue to show a good performance. Struff played very well but I was lucky in some of the games and it helped me a lot.”
Greece’s emerging talent will meet experienced Frenchman Gael Monfils, who defeated Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 7-5 6-3, in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Sealed with a smash!
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 7, 2019
“I have to be careful. My opponent does unpredictable things on the court. Sometimes you don’t expect things and he’d play, I’d say, with your mind,” Tsitsipas added.
“He has seen my game, I have seen his. I just need to be careful and be aware of what he’s doing.”
Fernando Verdasco also secured his place in the quarterfinals with 6-2 4-6 6-1 win over Romanian Marius Copil.
Next up for the veteran is Italian Matteo Berrettini, who stunned top seed Karen Khachanov with a three-set win in the second round.
Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev came back from a set down to beat Dutchman Robin Haase 5-7 6-2 6-2 and book his place in the last eight, where he will face Slovakian Martin Klizan, who defeated German qualifier Daniel Brands 7-6(5) 6-4.
Marton Fucsovics also made it to the last eight after a 7-6(3) 3-6 6-4 win over another German qualifier – Yannick Maden.
The Hungarian will face fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, who won the tournament in 2016.
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