Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates after defeating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
- While the “old guard” meet in the other French semifinal, younger guns Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev battle in the other half
- It’s the second meeting on clay between the two – and the biggest encounter of their careers.
- Tsitsipas is the favorite based on their head-to-head record. We break down the matchup, set for Friday
Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, the most in-form players on the clay who aren’t part of the legendary “Big 3” meet in a semifinal most had predicted before the French Open began.
In fact, neither Nadal vs Djokovic in the other semifinal, or Zverev vs Tsitsipas out of the bottom half, is a shocker.
Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas Odds
| Alexander Zverev (GER)||+4.5 (+102)||+215||O 38.5 (-112)|
| Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)||-4.5 (-127)||-275||U 38.5 (-112)|
Odds as of June 10 at DraftKings
Both were expected to happen on paper. And even if that often doesn’t pan out in real life, it was the case for this French Open.
Unibet New Jersey Promo for Euro Championships Gives You 5-1 Odds on a Goal Being Scored
After Nadal, Tsitsipas was the second favorite to take the entire tournament before the first ball was struck.
Your first #RolandGarros semi-final confirmed:
🇩🇪 Zverev v. Tsitsipas 🇬🇷 pic.twitter.com/9PFayTpE6a
— ATP Tour (@atptour) June 8, 2021
Zverev and Tsitsipas to Semis with Minimal Stress
Having No. 4 seed Dominic Thiem eliminated early (and given his current form, perhaps not a threat anyway) made it smooth sailing for Zverev, who hasn’t faced a seed through five matches.
Not that he wasn’t fully capable of beating Karen Khachanov, Casper Ruud, Roberto Bautista Agut, Fabio Fognini or Thiem on his own. But he didn’t have to.
Crunching the numbers, he had a pretty sweet draw.
Besides the obvious reasons, I’m going to be so irritated if Zverev is the one who makes it to the final from that half of the draw because his path has been SO much easier than the other two.
Average rank of opponent, R1-SF:
— rachel (@tennisbish) June 8, 2021
Zverev went down two sets to love to a qualifier, countryman Oscar Otte, in the first round before rolling over him to win in five – and straight-setting all his other opponents.
As for Tsitsipas, he has lost just one set – the first set in a four-set win over No. 31 seed John Isner.
He tossed aside No. 12 seed Pablo Carreño Busta and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the last two rounds as though they were mere pretenders, not high-level, quality players.
Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas Match History
|2021||Acapulco (F)||Outdoor Hard||6-4, 7-6 (3)||Zverev|
|2020||ATP Cup (RR)||Outdoor Hard||6-1, 6-4||Tsitsipas|
|2019||ATP Tour Finals (RR)||Indoor Hard||6-3, 6-2||Tsitsipas|
|2019||Beijing (SF)||Outdoor Hard||7-6 (6), 6-4||Tsitsipas|
|2019||Madrid Masters (QF)||Outdoor Clay||7-5, 3-6, 6-2||Tsitsipas|
|2018||Canada Masters (QF)||Outdoor Hard||3-6, 7-6 (11), 6-4||Tsitsipas|
|2018||Washington (SF)||Outdoor Hard||6-2, 6-4||Zverev|
Tsitsipas Leads the Head-to-Head 5-2
Zverev won the first meeting between the two, nearly three years ago in Washington, DC.
It was a form win; Zverev was ranked No. 3. Tsitsipas, only 16 months younger but not as precocious as the German, was ranked No. 32.
Since then, it was all Tsitsipas – until the final in Acapulco last winter. Zverev was in full form; Tsitsipas, somewhat in and out mentally.
The most contentious one came in Canada.
Alexander Zverev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas Head-to-Head
|24 (April 20, 1997||Age||22 (Aug. 12, 1998)|
|Hamburg, Germany||Birthplace||Athens, Greece|
|16||Career ATP Singles Titles||7|
|No. 3 (Nov. 6, 2017)||Career High Ranking||No. 5 (Aug. 5, 2019)|
|No. 3||Current Ranking||No. 5|
|$24,464, 405||Career Prize Money||$14,136,302|
|23-8||2021 Won/Loss record||38-8|
|2||Career Head to Head||5|
Tsitsipas 1-0 vs. Zverev on the Clay
Their only meeting on clay came at the Madrid Masters in 2019, where Tsitsipas won in three sets in the quarterfinals.
But even though Zverev is the only one of the two to reach a Grand Slam final (at the US Open last fall, where he lost to Dominic Thiem), Tsitsipas is the clear favorite.
It’s not just the head-to-head record. The fact that Tsitsipas is a better hard-court player overall, and has fewer weaknesses in his game. And the dry conditions in Paris make the red clay feel almost like a hard-court match.
If Zverev has a bigger first serve, Tsitsipas has the better second serve and is more secure overall there.
If Zverev has a sweeter backhand, Tsitsipas has him beat both on the forehand, and in the net game as well.
Expect a Long Battle from the two Young Guns
The “over” on the total games kicks into the positive at 39.5 games. And you’d expect that to happen – even if the match only goes four sets.
Depending on how daring you want to be, even over 45.5 games (+260) doesn’t seem like a huge risk.
Zverev could also get off to a good start. So +160 to win the first set is a good option. He could well even break Tsitsipas in his opening service game (+410).
Going over 9.5 games in the first set (-125) is also a good possibility.
Best Bet: Tsitsipas in five sets (+480)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.