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Jannik Sinner, on top of the world Jannik Sinner, seul au monde

Stefanos Tsitsipas was knocked out by Daniel Elahi Galan (0/6 1/6 6/3 5/7) in the first round of the US Open in New York on Monday, the 29th of August.

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Currently second in the world in the Race To Turin, Stefanos Tsitsipas was one of the serious contenders for the US Open title. Finalist in the Master 1000 of Cincinnati, the Greek arrived in New York full of hope for the last Grand Slam of the year. Against all odds, he was out of solutions against Daniel Elahi Galan, ranked 94th.

The first set of this encounter barely lasted 20 minutes. The Columbian played a solid and efficient tennis while the 4th seed collapsed. Tsitsipas wasn’t able to keep a single game of serve : damning faults, rushed rises to the net, very few first serves. Playing defence from the beginning to the end, the Greek seemed elsewhere while the games flew by : 0/6.

The second set was pretty much the same as the first one. The rallies were a bit longer and Tsitsipas won more points – but it was far from enough. The Greek seemed agitated while debating with his father/coach between every game. Unforced errors remained excessive : he was down 5-0. After a medical time out to treat an elbow injury, Tsitsipas won his first game of the match. The second set slipped out of his hands : 1/6. The doctor re-entered the court.  

The third set was encouraging : the 5th player in the world managed to win his first game of serve. He played a tennis which looked a bit more like him and got an early break. Tsitsipas, who seemed calmer, won the first set by keeping his advantage : 6/3.

The last set began in favour of Stefanos Tsitsipas who took an early break. The Greek player showed more aggressiveness while Galan piled up unforced errors. Nevertheless, Tsitsipas didn’t elevate his level of tennis enough. He lost his break. Despite a tied end of the encounter, the Cincinnati finalist wasn’t consistent enough on serve. The 11th match point was the right one for Daniel Elahi Galan who won the biggest match of his carreer.

This unexpected defeat should serve as a lesson for the 24 years old player. Two reasons can explain this outcome : his elbow injury or a lack of consistency. They both point out a mental weakness. It is obvious that Tsitsipas didn’t forget how to play tennis. He just couldn’t pull himself together. As for his elbow injury, it is a sign of exhaustion. If the Greek holds the record of winning in 2022, it is at the cost of an excessive number of tournaments played. This need to pile up matchs to be confident shows some  kind of fragility.

Marnie Abbou

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