Stefanos Tsitsipas was in no mood to hang around in Rotterdam on Thursday.
The top-seeded Greek sent out a clear statement to the rest of the field with an all-round display to beat Belarusian Ilya Ivashka 6-4, 6-1 in one hour, 11 minutes in the second round of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.
It was Tsitsipas’ first meeting with Belarusian Ivashka, who enjoyed a stellar 2021 season during which he reached a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 43 and claimed his first ATP Tour title in Winston-Salem.
He came up against an opponent in an unforgiving mood in the form of Tsitsipas, however. The Greek reached the semi-finals in Rotterdam in 2021 (l. to Rublev) and his second-round display indicates he feels he has unfinished business at the ATP 500 event.
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Ivashka was under pressure from the start, Tsitsipas maintaining high levels of aggression to force five break points in the opening set. He was made to wait to convert one as the Belarusian showed some of the battling qualities that earned him 31 match wins in 2021 to stick with the Greek.
The constant struggle finally became too much in the tenth game as some loose groundstrokes from the World No. 48 handed Tsitsipas the game he needed to take the set.
The Greek was clinical throughout, finishing with 21 winners including nine aces as he overpowered his lower-ranked opponent. He roared into a 5-0 lead in the second set as Ivashka had no answer to the Greek’s brutal hitting.
Tsitsipas’ quarter-final opponent will be Alex de Minaur, who defeated Mackenzie McDonald in his second-round match on Wednesday. The Greek will be looking to extend a 6-0 ATP Head2Head lead over the Australian.