Published: 11:42, April 18, 2022 | Updated: 11:50, April 18, 2022
Tsitsipas defeats Davidovich Fokina to defend Monte Carlo title
By Xinhua

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates with his trophy after winning the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 17, 2022. (VALERY HACHE / AFP)

PARIS - World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece successfully defended his ATP Monte Carlo Masters title on Sunday, getting the better of unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina from Spain 6-3, 7-6(3) to clinch his second ATP Masters 1000 crown.

The 23-year-old thus became the first repeat champion at Monaco since Rafael Nadal in 2018.

The 23-year-old thus became the first repeat champion at Monaco since Rafael Nadal in 2018

"I am very proud of myself," Tsitsipas said. "Things weren't going well at one point, but I managed to stay composed to finish the match off. I am really proud with the belief I put in my game. Sometimes you doubt yourself, but it is always important to keep your head high."

After squandering a chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set, the third seed was dominant in the tie-break, surging to a 6-2 lead and converting his second championship point.

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"He fought in moments I didn't expect him to fight. He can hit incredible winners out of nowhere and play unpredictably. But I was able to minimize that. I knew he would be a dangerous opponent but that is a great win for me. I think we will see great results from him in the future," the Greek said of his final opponent.

In the quarterfinals, Tsitsipas had rallied from 0-4 down in the deciding set to claim a marathon win over Argentina's Diego Schwartzman. After only 12 hours, the Greek appeared on the clay again and dispatched second seed Alexander Zverev of Germany relatively easily.

With such a strong start to the clay-court season, Tsitsipas is aiming higher for this year.

"I have a surface that I might be adjusting easier to than other surfaces and we know which one that is. My goal ever since I have realized that is if I'm able to score points on this surface as much as I can and really concentrate on the other surfaces a bit more, I can really pull off a great year, maybe even finishing among the two best tennis players at the end of the season," he said.

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Despite the loss in the final, Davidovich Fokina should feel encouraged after a dazzling week that he said was "a dream come true."

The 22-year-old arrived at Sunday's showdown, which was his maiden ATP tour-level final, after having completed stunning victories over world No.1 Novak Djokovic and Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz.

"Beating these guys gives you much confidence," Davidovich Fokina said. "After this week I don't know if I will win matches. I will be focused like this week on every point, every game. I will enjoy every moment now. Doesn't matter if I lose or if I win. I'm so happy with myself, what I am doing and just to keep in that line."

Davidovich Fokina's best result at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament prior to the week also came in Monte Carlo, where he reached the quarterfinals last season before being stopped by Tsitsipas. Following his runner-up finish this year, Davidovich Fokina will rise to a career-high No.27 in the ATP rankings.

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