'Drove me crazy': Stefanos Tsitsipas frustrated in French Open drama

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Pictured right, fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas during his French Open second round match against Zdenek Kolar.
Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas admits he was frustrated by his unheralded Czech opponent in the French Open second round. Pic: Getty

Stefanos Tsitsipas admits his frustrations almost got the better of him after surviving a big scare against World No.134 Zdenek Kolar in the second round of the French Open.

Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each in a tense affair on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

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The fourth seed was taken to another tiebreak by his Czech opponent in the fourth set, before finally prevailing in a 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7) epic that lasted four hours and six minutes.

Kolar belied his lowly ranking, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent) to leave his much more fancied opponent baffled at times.

“He drove me crazy,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match interview.

“It was so frustrating, he was just behind every ball and it was not easy.

"Mr Kolar was putting every part of his body behind the ball and I would like to congratulate him on such an incredible effort."

Speaking at a news conference after the win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

"It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

"He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

Stefanos Tsitsipas to play Mikael Ymer in third round

Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

"I guess both today," he admitted.

"I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not over-exaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

Seen here, Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates a point against Zdenek Kolar in his second round win at the French Open.
Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates a point against Zdenek Kolar in his second round win at the French Open. Pic: Getty

"Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer in the third round.

Ymer, the Swedish World No.95, beat 29th seed Dan Evans in their second round showdown.

with agencies

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