Nineteen-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas’ breakthrough week continued at the Rogers Cup on Saturday as he edged Kevin Anderson, 6-7 (4) 6-4 7-6 (7) to reach the first Masters 1000 final of his career.
Tsitsipas had already beaten the odds just to get to the semifinals. Having never ever been past the second round of a Masters 1000, he beat three straight Top 10 players—No. 8 Dominic Thiem, No. 10 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Alexander Zverev (saving two match points)—just to reach the final four.
And just like in his quarterfinal victory over Zverev, Tsitsipas was match point down against Anderson. After splitting the first two sets, neither player dropped serve en route to a third set tie-break, where—after missing out on two match points of his own—Tsitsipas faced a match point down 7-6. But the Greek ripped a crosscourt backhand winner to get to 7-all, fired an ace to bring up his third match point and then watched on as the No. 6-ranked Anderson hit one last backhand beyond the baseline.
After two hours and 48 minutes, he not only had his place in the final, but his fourth straight Top 10 win—the first time anyone’s beaten four at a Masters 1000 since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga right here in 2014.
“I don’t know what to believe. Everything’s happening so fast, I cannot keep up with it,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview right after the match. “Really I cannot believe what just happened there. All the emotions, so emotional—to have a flashback of last year, I remember playing in the Challenger in Slovenia, but instead of playing for 20 points it’s now 600 to 1000, even I cannot believe it.”
And on the eve of his 20th birthday, too.
“I swear if you would’ve asked me where I would like to spend my birthday, playing an ATP Masters 1000 final on the day of your birthday is the best thing that can happen to a tennis player,” he added.
Tsitsipas, who will also be the first unseeded player to play the Rogers Cup final in a decade (since Nicolas Kiefer in 2008), is also guaranteed to break into the Top 15 for the first time win or lose in the final (he’s projected to rise from No. 27 to No. 15 if he loses tomorrow, and to No. 12 if he wins the title).
He was also asked how he felt about all of the Greek fan support in the crowd. “I was in Greek Town this week, and it feels like Greek Town here in this court. I’m so thankful to all of you who show support, love—you have so much passion about the sport. I love it. It’s not easy to find this.”
Anderson was playing his second Masters 1000 semifinal (he also made it this far at Madrid in May).
Awaiting Tsitsipas in the final will be either World No. 1 Rafael Nadal or another unseeded player, No. 38-ranked Karen Khachanov, who will play at night. Tsitsipas is 0-1 against both, losing to Nadal in the Barcelona final this year, 6-2 6-1, and to Khachanov in the first round of Shanghai last year, 7-5 6-3.
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev headline the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Watch live coverage from four courts on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, August 6th at 11:00 A.M.