Mallorca (Spain): Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his first tour-level final on the grass court, defeating Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-4, 6-4 in the Mallorca Championships here on Friday.
The Greek demonstrated great footwork to dictate on his aggressive forehand, while he held his nerve in the crucial moments, saving all three break points he faced to advance after one hour and 32 minutes.
The second seed, who is making his debut at the ATP 250 event, also defeated Bonzi on the grass in Halle last week before he lost to Australian Nick Kyrgios.
“It was a good match. I am very happy today,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview.
“I have played a final a week before a Grand Slam before. It was the year I made the final at Roland Garros, in Lyon. It worked out pretty well to have that final and consistency of matches. It is different this time. We are talking about a different surface, so we will see.”
With his victory, Tsitsipas has now earned a Tour-leading 39 wins this season and will face Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut or Swiss qualifier Antoine Bellier in what will be his fourth final of the season.
In a tight first set in Spain, it was Tsitsipas who made the decisive move, breaking Bonzi in the ninth game before he held the lead. Fuelled by confidence, the Greek continued to find his rhythm from the baseline in the second set. He took his forehand early to take time away from the Frenchman, forcing Bonzi into errors as he closed out the match.
Bonzi had not dropped a set en route to the semi-finals, having earned the second biggest win of his career when he upset World No. 16 Denis Shapovalov in the second round. It was the second time the World No. 56 had advanced to a tour-level semifinal after he enjoyed a run to the championship match in Marseille in February.