Stefanos Tsitsipas soars into Monte Carlo final, ends Evans' fairytale

Stefanos Tsitsipas soars into Monte Carlo final, ends Evans' fairytale

World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas scored a comprehensive victory over on-fire Brit Daniel Evans to reach his third career Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

Stefanos Tsitsipas surged into his third career ATP Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Saturday afternoon, bringing Daniel Evans’ fairytale run to an end, 6-2, 6-1.

"I think I found ways to play my best and I couldn't even think of the score because it was really difficult to maintain that level of consistency," sighed an out-of-breath Tsitsipas straight after the match, "but I'm really pleased I managed to deal with all the difficult moments that presented themselves in the match."

The No. 4 seed is yet to drop a set in Monte Carlo and continued his impressively consistent start to the 2021 season after a one hour and nine-minute victory over the Brit on Court Rainer III.

Though Tsitsipas claimed two previous meetings with the unseeded 30-year-old in straight sets last year, Evans has been in the midst of a career-best week at both the Masters 1000 level specifically and on clay courts in general, scoring back-to-back wins over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 2017 Monte Carlo semifinalist David Goffin en route to the final four.

WATCH: Stefanos Tsitsipas talks with Prakash Amritraj after the match

"He has a very unique way of playing," Tsitsipas said. "I haven't seen too many players playing this way on clay, but that's his style and the way he grew up playing. I had a lot of opportunities to run around and hit the forehand, so I had some time to think and picture the way I wanted to construct points and play them. That gave me the opportunity to step things up and play through."

The one-handed backhand battle came down to a trio of service breaks in the opening set as the Greek No. 1 emerged out of a marathon sixth game with a 4-2 lead, and rode that momentum though eight of the set's final nine points.

"I didn't serve great," said Evans, who is also in the doubles semifinals with Neal Skupski. "I never felt serve-volleying was a good option. He sort of stands in between a clay court position and hard court position on return. He swings hard. He doesn't really hit with much shape on the first serve return, so it doesn't give me much chance to get in. Then when he's at the back, he's obviously preying on my backhand. The ball is heavy. It's just not good, yeah."

Down a break in the second, Evans threatened to level when he opened up a 0-30 advantage on the Tsitsipas serve. The 22-year-old responded with aplomb, blasting an inside-in forehand to move within two games of the championship match.

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A brave passing shot earned Tstsipas a second break point in the following game, one he converted when Evans netted a forehand. Moving to match point three points later thanks to another forehand winner, a missed return ultimately edged the world No. 5 over the finish line.

"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling energized," Tsitsipas said in his post-match press conference. "I still have plenty of gas and energy left in me. I was able to have all of my matches done in two sets, so that is I would say a big plus. I am happy to be able to play that way, just take it match by match, approach each individual match with the same intensity and energy. That has obviously contributed to that, to be able to finish the matches in two sets, not go to three-setters."

In all, Tsitsipas played pitch-perfect tennis off the ground, striking 21 winners to just 13 unforced errors—a marked contrast to Evans' 8-20 differential—and converted five of 11 break point opportunities, while allowing the Brit just one break of his own serve in the first set.

Standing between the 2019 ATP Finals champion and a first Masters 1000 title will be Andrey Rublev, who dethroned 11-time Monte Carlo winner Rafael Nadal on Friday. The Russian No. 6 seed backed that win up with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Norway's Casper Ruud in the second semifinal.

"It's great to be in the final of such prestigious, high-class event. I don't know who I'll get in the final, but either would definitely be a difficult opponent to face, and to fight for a title this week."

Tsitsipas and Rublev have faced off four times in the last eight months alone for an even 2-2 split—also tying their 2020 clay court clashes in Hamburg (Rublev) and Roland Garros (Tsitsipas).