PARIS — Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 22-year-old rising star from Greece, will play in his first Grand Slam final Sunday.
Tsitsipas survived five-sets of testosterone-fueled tennis Friday, staving off a stirring comeback from Alexander Zverev of Germany Friday, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the first men’s semifinal. He will play the winner of the heavyweight matchup between Rafael Nadal, the 13-time French Open champion, and Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1.
Tsitsipas, a passionate player and person who makes films in his spare time, fought back tears in an interview on the court after the match.
“All I can think of is my roots where I came from a small place outside Athens, my dream was to play here,” he said.
He is the first Greek player to make a Grand Slam final.
Tsitsipas has now beaten two players ranked in the top six to reach the final and has dropped just a single set in six matches.
Tsitsipas was in control from the beginning of match, breaking Zverev in his first service game and cruising for an early lead. Zverev, 24, a lanky and powerful player who has made the semifinal round in four of the past five Grand Slams, stepped up in the second set, surging to a 3-1 lead, only for Tsitsipas to raise his game even higher.
With Zverev searching for tight angles, Tsitsipas chased down every shot. And when he reached the balls, he showed off every ounce of creativity.
He has the power to exert intense pressure on an opponent, a sneaky backhand drop shot, and at 6-foot-4, an intimidating net game. Exerting all three at once, he reeled off five straight games to take the second set as Zverev got sloppy, spraying his strokes wide and long.