Stefanos Tsitsipas launches his Open 13 Provence title quest in Marseille on Wednesday night when he takes on the rising Mikael Ymer in the second round.
Stefanos Tsitsipas ?? vs Mikael Ymer ?? Match Info
Date: Wednesday February 19
Tournament: ATP Marseille R2
Court: Court Central
Time: 7.00pm local time (6.00pm GMT)
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Mikael Ymer Head-to-Head
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Mikael Ymer Match Preview
Tsitsipas has lost more matches than he’s won in 2020 – can he get something cooking in Marseille this week as he prepares for his opening challenge against rise Swede star Ymer?
You don’t want to say it’s a curse winning the Nitto ATP Finals, but the last two winners – Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev – struggled considerably the following season and both are still searching for their best tennis. It’s very early days, but Tsitsipas is following a similar pattern across the first month-and-a-half of the season – and he will want to turn his form around as quickly as possible, because the pressure is only going to increase with every passing tournament he fails to impress.
Tsitsipas launched his 2020 in disappointing fashion, losing two of his three ATP Cup matches for Greece and making unwanted headlines as a temper tantrum went viral when he inadvertently struck his father and coach during a racquet smash. The Greek then failed to defend his Grand Slam semi-final points at the Australian Open, losing meekly in straight sets in the third round to Milos Raonic. The 21-year-old returned to action in Rotterdam last week, but it wasn’t a successful tournament, with Tsitsipas overcoming Hubert Hurkacz in three sets before suffering a straight sets defeat to Aljaz Bedene in the second round – a player who had lost his last 20 completed matches against top 10 rivals.
There’s no doubt Tsitsipas is a special talent – you don’t beat the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (on clay no less) at 21 years of age if you’re not the real deal. However, the World No. 6 is also a unique character who is seemingly finding it tough to handle the pressure of being an established star of men’s tennis right now. These things take time, but Tsitsipas will want to find the answer sooner rather than later. What can the youngster conjure up this week in Marseille?
Ymer is the same age as Tsitsipas, but he’s only just starting to make a name for himself on tour – and he continued his excellent start to 2020 in his Marseille opener earlier in the week, taking out former top 10 player Richard Gasquet in three sets to make the second round.
The 21-year-old achieved his career-high ranking of No. 73 in October last year after posting a 39-10 record on the Challenger Tour, winning four titles from six finals as he became the first player from Sweden to break into the top 100 since Robin Soderling in 2012. Ymer won 13 straight matches at Challenger level from September to October last year to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, where he went out in the group stage. Ymer has continued to make progress in the early stages of 2020, qualifying for the main draw in Doha and Auckland, while he was agonisingly close to reaching the third round of the Australian Open, losing a marathon and topsy-turvy clash to Karen Khachanov in a fifth set tiebreak. The Swede also had a good win in Montpellier before arriving in Marseille, taking out Next Gen champion Jannik Sinner.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Mikael Ymer Prediction
This is the kind of match Tsitsipas should win with minimal fuss at his best, but in his current form, he’ll do well to avoid a lengthy battle. Ymer is one of those consistent baselines that makes you work extremely hard for each point. In saying that, the Swede doesn’t have that one big weapon to finish off points at this stage of his career, so he’ll be relying on Tsitsipas making errors if he’s going to win. Tsitsipas should be too strong, but he’s been losing a lot of these types of matches lately…