Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Stefanos Tsitsipas made light work of Andrey Rublev on the way to booking his spot against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

World No. 6 Tsitsipas beat Russian Rublev 6-3, 6-4 in straight sets at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex on Thursday and will face world No. 2 Djokovic in Friday’s first last-four clash. World No. 1 and four-time MWTC winner Rafael Nadal will meet Karen Khachanov, who beat Hyeon Chung 7-6, 6-4 in the other semi-final.

Tsitsipas was dominant during the match with Rublev and seized the advantage by breaking his opponent’s very first service game. World No. 23 Rublev started to come back slowly, his sharp serve aiding his marginal recovery. Tsitsipas saved two break points in the seventh game to deny Rublev, who held on to his serve easily in the next game before the Greek served out the set with an ace down the middle.

Tsitsipas capitalised on his rival’s erratic form to find the break he needed in the second set to go 3-2 up. Thereafter, it went to serve with Tsitsipas serving out the set and with it the match with an ace.

“I had a great 2018 and then had a great start playing the semi-final at the Australian Open last year. I was consistent throughout the year and though the form dipped, I found my balance at some point and just managed to continue this year. My goal is to get good wins against top players and I am working to achieve things like this,” Tsitsipas said.

“The thing I’ve learnt during my career is that I don’t need to put too much unnecessary pressure on myself because things don’t necessarily work out the way I want them to so my priority is to enjoy and the rest comes.

“I’m learning week after week the things that work and things that don’t and things that may need a different approach and how I can improve as a person and become a better person and a wiser person.”

Rublev added: “It’s amazing to be here to play this event with such good players, it’s amazing preparation for next season. This is my second time here and I am enjoying it. I hope this match gives me confidence for the start of the new season.”