How Tsitsipas Can Crack The Top 5 In Rome

Stefanos Tsitsipas has more than just a spot in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final on the line Saturday when he faces Rafael Nadal. The reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion triumphed in Milan last year, and he could earn a place in the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings for the first time by earning another big win in Italy, against the eight-time Rome champion.
Tsitsipas had to qualify for this tournament last year, losing in the second round of the main draw as the World No. 43. But if the 20-year-old reaches his third Masters 1000 final by upsetting Nadal, he will become the first Greek man to crack the Top 5 on Monday.
Even if Tsitsipas loses to Nadal at the Foro Italico, he will still be well-positioned to break into the Top 5 at Roland Garros. A defeat Saturday would leave him with 4,080 points, and Alexander Zverev will have 4,155 points, giving the German a 75-point lead. 
Watch Highlights Of Tsitsipas’ Win Vs. Nadal In Madrid

But the 6’4” right-hander Tsitsipas (second round, 45 points) is defending 315 fewer points than Zverev (quarter-finals, 360 points) on the Parisian terre battue. Zverev is competing in Geneva next week. But even if he wins the tournament, the 250 points he could gain would replace the 45 points on his ATP Ranking due to the number of countable tournaments he has available. So Tsitsipas would still have an edge heading into Roland Garros.
Entering last week’s Mutua Madrid Open semi-finals, Tsitsipas had lost all seven of his FedEx ATP Head2Head sets against Nadal. But the Greek played his best tennis to defeat the World No. 2 in three sets, eventually losing to top seed Novak Djokovic in the final.
“I remember this very well last year, Rome,” Tsitsipas said after defeating Nadal in the Madrid semi-finals. “That was my last qualifying match that I played officially. I really hope it is. I remember someone telling me that is going to be your last qualifying… I didn’t have the best results, best outcome, but this year I became more experienced.” 
The three-time ATP Tour titlist became the first former Next Gen ATP Finals competitor to break into the Top 10 on 4 March. Now he can become the first to reach the Top 5. If Tsitsipas accomplishes the feat, the Greek will become the youngest to do so since 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion Zverev — whom he would pass — on 11 September 2017.
“I’m more experienced, more fit and experience actually plays a huge role in the way you are going to play. And [I am] more courageous,” Tsitsipas said. “[I’m] a more courageous Stefanos with more guts and mentally much tougher than I was the year before.” 

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Source: ATP

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