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Monte-Carlo final: Davidovich Fokina hoping it’s third time lucky against Tsitsipas

These two players have met twice before – and the Spaniard is hoping for a change of fortune.

Tsitsipas Fokina Tsitsipas Fokina

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will step on to the court in Monte-Carlo tomorrow to face Stefanos Tsitsipas, just as he did last year.

In 2021, though, they met at the quarter-final stage, and the Greek – the tournament’s fourth seed then – got a walkover win through injury after taking the first set 7-5.

The Spaniard had a chance to settle the score in February when they met in Rotterdam’s Round of 32. Again, Tsitsipas took the win – this time in a three-set tussle, 7-5, 6-7 (1), 6-4.

On Sunday, however, the two will clash for a third time in the Monte-Carlo final – and Davidovich Fokina is ready to enjoy the occasion without any emotional baggage.

“In Monte-Carlo [last year], maybe [it] was not my time to win that match,” Davidovich Fokina reflected after his semi-final victory against Grigor Dimitrov put him into the first ATP Tour final of his career. “In Rotterdam [it] was so tight. I had my chances to win that match.

“I think after this week I’m really prepared to have that battle against him…because I think my team and me, like we own it to have that battle because [it] will be, for sure, so fun and we will enjoy every moment. Doesn’t matter who win or lose tomorrow, just enjoying to keep pushing myself to the end.”

Tsitsipas – I put my soul out there

For his part, Tsitsipas hinted that the gruelling nature of his quarter-final match against Diego Schwartzman on Friday evening helped him prepare for what turned out to be a straightforward dismissal of Alexander Zverev on Saturday afternoon.

“I had to put my soul out there, and I demanded from myself to make it physical, as surprising as this may sound, after a very physical battle last night,” he said in his own press conference after the semi-final. “I knew that my body may not respond the same way that I wanted to, but I had certain demands and I kind of stick to those demands and made them happen, as surreal as it may sound.

“I wanted to stay on the court as much as I had to and trying to start rallies and make it physical. Obviously it worked in my favour.”

Both men have already passed some stiff tests this week. Sunday afternoon’s examination may prove their toughest yet.

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