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February 13, 2021 Men's Singles 3rd Round John Cain Arena
February 13, 2021 Men's Singles 3rd Round John Cain Arena

In-form Tsitsipas mashes Swede Ymer

Stefanos Tsitsipas has cruised into the fourth round, securing a 6-4 6-1 6-1 win over quarantine training partner Mikael Ymer.

“It took some time for me to get used to the new conditions on John Cain but I’m very happy with my game,” said Tsitsipas. 

SCOREBOARD: S Tsitsipas d M Ymer 

“I think I showed a good quality of tennis today. Mike is someone that I’ve known for a long time and it’s quite important for me to have battles like this against him and for the next generation of tennis as well. All of us have been working really hard to get where we are today.”

The duo, both 22, were both untroubled on serve early. It was the Greek fifth seed who first manufactured a break point in the sixth game, which Ymer saved with a perfectly executed overhead. Serving at 4-5 and perhaps feeling the scoreboard pressure, the Swede played an untimely loose game to be broken to love after stringing together four unforced errors.

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HIGHLIGHTS: Speedy Stefanos

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Mikael Ymer struggled in his first third-round Slam match

Ymer, contesting the third round of a major for the first time in his young career, produced winners so pure that his team – including older brother Elias, a qualifier at AO 2021 – regularly jumped out of their seats with encouraging applause.

But the athletic right-hander couldn’t hold off Tsitsipas’ heavy groundstrokes which had him scrambling to cover both wings, setting the Greek up for a smash with which he clinched break point. Tsitsipas, a 2019 semifinalist, stepped up his intensity to dictate play in the sixth game, eventually converting a fourth break point to surge to a 5-1 lead. Moments later, a 194 kilometre an hour unreturnable serve earned him the second set.

Maintaining momentum, Tsitsipas pressed his opponent to seize a break in the opening game of the third. Although he immediately handed back the advantage, it was the last game the Greek world no. 6 would lose – he stormed on to snatch the third set in 26 minutes, earning victory in just one hour and 34 minutes.

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The Tsitsipas backhand captured from above John Cain Arena

Tsitsipas, who claimed the win despite landing just 61 per cent of his first serves compared to Ymer’s 76 per cent, faces either Matteo Berrettini or Karen Khachanov on Monday.

“They are both great opponents, I’ve played them in the past. I am going to have to be prepared for something difficult, a difficult ask – it doesn’t matter who from the two wins,” Tsitsipas said. 

“They both share a similar game style and both have spent a fair amount [of time] in the top 10 so they are good players, I’m expecting a fight.”

Tsitsipas is hoping to remain in the draw long enough to see the Melbourne crowd back on site in five days.

“I don’t want to focus too much on things that haven’t happened yet and are still yet to come. For me it’s an everyday process, every day I have the opportunity to step out on the court and show something better, show a better version of myself.”