WATCH: Tsitsipas Ferociously Destroys Banner With Racket After Opening Game In Rome

WATCH: Tsitsipas Ferociously Destroys Banner With Racket After Opening Game In Rome

by Nurein Ahmed

Stefanos Tsitsipas is usually so serene and calm on a tennis court, but he reached a breaking point just five minutes into his second-round match at the Italian Open.

The Greek player was taking on the in-form Jan Lennard Struff, who last month became the third-oldest first-time champion on the ATP Tour when he won the Munich Open.

Tsitsipas knew Saturday's match was unlikely to be a stroll. Struff had also picked up his ninth win in this year's clay swing in the first round in Rome, so he had acclimatized to the courts more than his opponent, who had a bye by being the sixth seed.

Nobody could have predicted the sequence of events in the opening game when the match started. Tsitsipas had two game points to hold but did not convert any, and the German secured a break on his first attempt.

An incensed Tsitsipas smashed his racket on the signboard located just next to the line judge, leaving a dent in it before breaking it in half with a second swing. The 25-year-old also lost his racket, which snapped.

Tsitsipas managed to recover the break later in the set, which went into a tie-break that Struff won. However, the Greek bounced back superbly, taking the next two sets 6-4, 6-4 after two hours and 34 minutes.

It was Tsitsipas's 11th win of a stellar clay-court campaign that yielded a third Monte-Carlo Masters crown in April and the runner-up finish in Barcelona. Last fortnight's defeat to Thiago Monteiro in Madrid was just a blip, with the Athenian quickly returning to winning ways in Rome.

Tsitsipas, a former finalist at the Foro Italico, will next face British No. 1 Cameron Norrie in the third round on Monday. Norrie leads their head-to-head 2-1 in tour-level meetings, but they haven't met since 2022.


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