'Fantastic' Tsitsipas makes 39 first serves in a row – was it a record?

Stefanos Tsitsipas produced a remarkable display of serving during his win over Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Open.

Tsitsipas came through 3-6 6-1 7-6(5) in a hard-fought match against the former US Open champion.

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One of the keys to Tsitsipas’ win was his serving performance.

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Not only did the world No. 5 win 88 per cent (50/57) of his overall first-serve points, but he also made 39 first serves in a row from the end of the first set to midway through the third.

The streak started with Tsitsipas trailing 5-2 in the first set.

He then didn’t miss a first serve for the entire second set and seven games of the deciding set before eventually he had to call on his second serve again.

“That’s fantastic, 39 is a lot,” Tsitsipas said afterwards. “That shows that perhaps I improved today on my serve. That’s a positive mark for me.

“I think I just owe it all to fluidity and just being relaxed on my serve…I think it’s just pure relaxation and focus.”

Tsitsipas’ serving wowed those watching, including former British No. 1 Laura Robson.

“Over an hour since Tsitsipas last missed a first serve…does anyone know the record?!” asked Robson on Twitter.

Tsitsipas’ impressive effort has been beaten before.

It was equalled in 2002 when Nicolas Lapentti made every first serve (39) during defeat to Karol Kucera at Indian Wells. Remarkably, Kucera was almost perfect too as he went 40/41 for first serves made.

Albert Montanes went even better than Lapentti and Tsitsipas as he made all 50 first serves in victory over Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in Palermo in 2002.

Tsitsipas’ reward for beating Thiem is a clash with 25th seed Sebastian Baez in the last 32.

“It took time to adjust, I won’t lie. But I just stayed calm,” said Tsitsipas about fighting back against Thiem. “I had confidence in my tennis, and I knew that bit by bit I would be able to fight back, and my confidence showed in that second set where I was just serving very well, and started finding my rhythm on the returns.

“The third set was just pure fight. He’s not someone who’s going to give up, and he hates even giving the slightest to you in terms of free points. So I knew I was dealing with something big.”

For Thiem it was an encouraging display after losing his last eight matches in a row against top-10 players in straight sets.

It was his first meeting against Tsitsipas since the 2020 ATP Finals.

Thiem, who is still looking to rediscover his best form following a wrist injury, is now 7-12 on the season, while Tsitsipas is 21-6.

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