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Tsitsipas finds balance to advance into French Open last eight

PARIS (Reuters) - Stefanos Tsitsipas eased into the quarter-finals of the French Open with a straight-set wins against Grigor Dimitrov with a performance that is largely due to the Greek having found balance, on and off the court.

Oct 5, 2020; Paris, France; Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) celebrates match point during his match against Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) on day eight at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

The fifth seed appeared composed throughout, playing the crucial points perfectly, to go one step further than last year, when he lost 7-6 5-7 6-4 3-6 8-6 to Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round.

“For sure it’s somewhere in the back of my head because it happened. It’s an event that took place in the past. So you cannot avoid it,” Tsitsipas, who next faces Russian 13th seed Andrey Rublev, told a news conference.

“I need matches like this in my career. I think we all need matches like this in our career. You just have to look back on these moments.”

That experience might have helped Tsitsipas go through his first round match, which he won in five sets against Spain’s Jaume Munar after losing the first two sets.

The rollercoaster contest helped him win the following three matches without dropping a set.

“It was a very good lesson for me, the first round match. Obviously you do want to avoid as much as possible situations like this,” he explained.

“I think I was just more awakened on the court, more responsible of what I was doing. That is also the reason why I’ve been doing so well in the last nine sets that I’ve played.

“My game is very aggressive. My game is there. My understanding of what I should do is relatively correct and accurate.”

Being performant on court is also a matter of eliminating negative thoughts for Tsitsipas, who said he tends to stay away from social media during Grand Slam tournaments.

“I don’t really use social media during Slams. I try and avoid using any form or any app that is linked to social media. I think it keeps me more sane,” the 22-year-old said.

Tsitsipas’s last post on Twitter dates back to Sept. 18, nine days before the start of the French Open.

“Especially during quarantine, I found myself using a lot of social media, which is not as pleasant of an experience as people think it is,” he said.

“Just have to use everything with regulation and not overdo things. I think that’s the basic rule of life: keep a balance, keep a balance in your life. Sometimes it’s not bad to be silent.”

And let the racket do the talking.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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