FILE PHOTO: Aug 28, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) hits the ball against Milos Raonic (CAN) during the Western & Southern Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas kicked off his quest for a maiden Grand Slam title in style as he overwhelmed Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2 6-1 6-1 on Monday to reach the second round of the U.S. Open.
Tsitsipas, who entered the first Grand Slam of the COVID-19 era fresh off a run to the semi-finals of the U.S. Open tune-up event, never faced a break point and broke Ramos-Vinolas seven times during the 98-minute match.
“I had a clear picture of what I was doing, where I was pressing. The depth on my ball was good,” said Tsitsipas, whose best Grand Slam result to date came at the 2019 Australian Open where he reached the semi-finals.
The 22-year-old Tsitsipas, who has never been beyond the second round of the U.S. Open, came into this week with 16 wins to his name this season and has been tipped by many to make a deep run in a tournament missing a number of top players.
Tsitsipas broke to go ahead 3-1 and that opened up his game as he went on to play the contest on his terms, flashing equal parts power and variety to overwhelm his opponent.
After Ramos-Vinolas held serve to start the third set, Tsitsipas won six consecutive games to wrap up the match and improve to 3-0 in head-to-head meetings with the Spaniard.
Tsitsipas enjoyed a solid day from the service line as he lost just four first-serve points and finished his day with 38 winners against 26 unforced errors.
The loss brought a speedy end to Ramos-Vinolas’s return to competition as the Spaniard, in his first tour-level event since the ATP Tour returned from its COVID-19 hiatus, withdrew from last week’s tune-up to be at the birth of his first child.
Up next for Tsitsipas will be a first-ever career meeting with American wildcard Maxime Cressy, who beat Slovakia’s Jozef Kovalik 6-1 2-6 6-4 6-4.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Fallon and Pritha Sarkar