Stefanos Tsitsipas targets a place in the Rotterdam quarter-finals on Thursday when he takes on Aljaz Bedene for the first time.
Stefanos Tsitsipas 🇬🇷 vs Aljaz Bedene 🇸🇮 Match Info
Date: Thursday February 13
Tournament: ATP Rotterdam, R2
Court: Centre Court
Time: 2.30pm local time (1.30pm GMT)
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Aljaz Bedene Head-to-Head
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Aljaz Bedene Match Preview
Arriving in Rotterdam without a win in three previous appearances, it appeared as if Tsitsipas could be in for another early exit in his opening round on Tuesday.
Tsitsipas lost in the first round of his Rotterdam debut in 2017 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, fell to Martin Klizan in the opening round of qualifying in 2018 and was eliminated by Damir Dzumhur at the first hurdle in 2019, but the Greek managed to reverse his fortunes in 2020, coming back from a set and a break down to conquer Hubert Hurkacz in three sets. From 6-7 0-2 down, Tsitsipas won 12 of the next 14 games to prevail by a 6-7(2) 6-3 6-1 scoreline, winning 81 per cent of points behind his first serve.
“The beginning of the match was quite unusual. I was quite nervous. I’ve never left here with a win… I just felt uncomfortable from the beginning,” Tsitsipas said. “Then I found my way in the second set [and] got back on my feet. I think my fighting spirit made it work. I was just waiting for my moment.”
Currently ranked No. 6 in the world, Tsitsipas improved his 2020 record to 3-3 after a difficult campaign in Australia, where he lost two of his three ATP Cup matches for Greece against Nick Kyrgios and Denis Shapovalov, while he was also knocked out of the Australian Open in the third round by Milos Raonic in straight sets.
Defending semi-final points in Melbourne, that was a disappointing performance by Tsitsipas – especially after he ended 2019 on the highest of highs with a title at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in London. The 21-year-old will be cautious of a slump this season, especially after watching Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev struggle significantly the following year after their respective ATP Finals triumphs.
In saying that, Tsitsipas is wired a little differently than those two and shouldn’t have as much trouble steadying the ship so to speak. Can the Greek win back-to-back matches for just the second time this season in Rotterdam on Thursday?
He’s the overwhelming favourite against Bedene, who also scored his first main draw Rotterdam win in his opening round, beating Benoit Paire for the sixth time, breaking the Frenchman’s serve on four occasions for a dominant 6-2 6-4 win in just 63 minutes.
Bedene is one of those players that is always going to hang around the 40-100 mark in the rankings, but he doesn’t have that one big weapon to take his game to the next level. The Slovenian enjoyed his career-best season in 2018 when he earned a total of 21 victories, reaching his best ranking of No. 43 after finishing runner-up in Buenos Aires. Bedene is still searching for his first ATP title after more runner-up showings in Chennai 2015, Budapest 2017 and Metz 2019. The 30-year-old’s lack of firepower is also evident through his 1-20 record against top 10 players, with his best win by ranking coming against No. 7 Kevin Anderson in Rome 2018.
Currently ranked No. 52 in the world, Bedene started 2020 by making the Doha quarter-finals, but he hasn’t won back-to-back matches since, losing in the first rounds of Adelaide and Montpellier and the second round of the Australian Open.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Aljaz Bedene Prediction
As mentioned, Bedene simply doesn’t have the weaponry to trouble the best players in the world, so he has to rely on them having a bad day if he’s going to stand a chance. Tsitsipas certainly isn’t anywhere near his best right now, but I’d be shocked if he lost this one.