World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas was on the ropes in his opening match at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday but battled back to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
Kohlschreiber, a former Top 20 player, led 2-0 in the third set before Tsitsipas sprung back into form, winning six of the last seven games of the match to close it out and become the first Greek man to win an Olympic tennis match in singles since Augustos Zerlandis in 1924.
“It is an honor,” Tsitsipas told ITFTennis.com after the match. “It’s a big move for Greece—it’s a big move for this sport in Greece as well, and there’s joy in doing that.”
Up next for Tsitsipas will be a rematch against Frances Tiafoe, who took him out in a first-round stunner at Wimbledon four weeks ago. They’re 1-1 overall in their head-to-head.
“I’ve learned my lessons,” Tsitsipas said. “I try and move on better this time. He’s an opponent around my age group and we’re kind of building a rivalry.
“I’m going to have to raise my level this time.”
In all there were seven Top 10 men’s seeds in action on Sunday. In addition to No. 3 seed Tsitsipas, No. 4-seeded Alexander Zverev, No. 7-seeded Hubert Hurkacz and No. 8-seeded Diego Schwartzman were all among those advancing to the second round.
But three weren’t so lucky, most notably No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev, who fell to Kei Nishikori, 6-3, 6-4, in one of the toughest first-round match-ups in the men’s draw.