In a piece the other day I said that Stefanos Tsitsipas looked in the mood the moment he turned up in Marseille following a difficult start to 2020. The Greek defended his title in France, hopped on a plane to Dubai and hasn’t looked back since!
Coming into this one I expected Dan Evans to put on a tough battle for the second seed but it was slightly easier than Dan would have liked it to have been against Tsitsipas.
A highlight of Dan’s week and something that caused Rublev countless problems in the quarter final match was the short backhand slice.
It was the backhand slice into that red zone which toiled with players who have that two handed backhand.
Coming into the match against Tsitsipas 74% of his backhands throughout the tournament were sliced. 52% of his backhand were placed in that left side of the court but of the backhands played there over 80% were slice.
This worked against Rublev, Fognini and Herbert but was slightly predictable against Tsitsipas who likewise has a sliced backhand.
Dan wasn’t getting the same joy he was getting in his previous matches with this shot because Tsitsipas has the better shot and game to turn it around.
Tsitsipas has the movement and the tools to slice back Dan’s short slice. He can either slice the backhand up the line or run around the backhand for that inside-in forehand. Something that Tsitsipas was not looking to do was to go cross-court into Dan’s backhand down the line which was want he wanted.
Dan went down a break early in both sets against the Greek but never found a way back, he did remain competitive but never to a level that was going to bother the second seed.
Overall another very good week for Dan Evans who can leave Dubai with plenty of positives including a career high ranking on Monday and Stefanos Tsitsipas has title No.2 of 2020 on his horizon!