Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas’ French Open preparations gathered momentum as he claimed his first clay-court title with a 6-3 7-6(4) victory over Pablo Cuevas at the Estoril Open on Sunday.
Top seed Tsitsipas made the most of his Uruguayan opponent’s struggles on the serve to clinch the opening set and grabbed an early break to serve at 4-3 in the second.
But the Australian Open semi-finalist suffered a lapse in concentration and was broken for the first time in the contest during a stretch of nine consecutive points won by Cuevas.
Tsitsipas regained his composure to save a set point in the 10th game before sealing the victory in the tiebreak for his third career title.
“I was very calm. I stayed aggressive, stayed motivated, didn’t think too much,” the 20-year-old said.
“He didn’t get into my head after he broke me back in the second set. That was kind of frustrating, but I kept fighting, kept believing that I can still win it in two sets.”
Tsitsipas now heads to back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome before he bids for a maiden Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros, where he was knocked out by Dominic Thiem in the second round last year.
“I’ve been building my game. It hasn’t been an easy transition from hard to clay this year, so I’ve been trying to play as many matches as I can before the big events start,” Tsitsipas added.
Greek youngster Tsitsipas captures first clay-court title in Estoril