Monte Carlo Masters: Stefanos Tsitsipas Wins Third Title

Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Casper Ruud 6-1 6-4 on Sunday to win his third Monte Carlo Masters title in four years. In 2021, Tsitsipas beat Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-3, 6-3 in the final, and then went on to defend his title in 2022 against Alejandro Fokina of Spain, 6-3, 7-6. In total this was Tsitsipas’ 11th ATP tournament win.

The Greek dominated the first set of the final, winning 6-1 in just 36 minutes of play. Ruud was able to fight back in the second set but ultimately Tsitsipas was too strong on the day, taking the second 6-4 to win in straight sets.

Monte-Carlo Rolex Master 1000 Tennis - Stephanos TSITSIPAS

Tsitsipas struck early with a break in the third game of the opening set. He was then able to save three break points to take the lead up to 3-1 in the first. Tsitsipas then earned a double break to go up 4-1 and claimed the set just moments later with a Ruud double fault. 

In the second set, the two players were on serve most of the way. Tsitsipas got into trouble at 3-3, needing to save three break points after leading 40-0. That was the last of the trouble for the Greek though, as he ended up taking the final couple games quickly to win the cup.

The major difference in the match seemed to come from the return of serve. Both Tsitsipas and Ruud had eight breakpoint opportunities in the match but only the Tsitipas could take advantage. The 12th seed broke Ruud four times while Ruud could not break a single game of Tsitsipas.

In the end, Tsitsipas had 30 winners to the 20 of Ruud and was able to attack his opponent’s second serve, only allowing a second serve win percentage of 39%. He is the fifth man to win three or more Monte Carlo titles, joining Rafael Nadal who has 11 titles, Bjorn Borg, Thomas Muster and Ilie Nastase who each won three apiece.

Tsitsipas entered the competition with a modest 11-6 record for 2024 but seemed to gain confidence as the tournament continued. The fact that he had previously won Monte Carlo Masters on two different occasions also played a role, as he looked to be comfortable on clay.

Both Tsitsipas and Ruud had difficult routes to the final, having to overcome the top two seeds of the tournament in Novak Djokovic and Janik Sinner in the semi-finals. 

Tsitsipas handed Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner just his second defeat of the year in a three set battle. In the fiercely competitive match, both players looked to attack but Tsitsipas outplayed the Italian in the crucial moments to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. It should be noted that Sinner struggled with a leg injury in the third set, twice receiving medical treatment.

In Ruud’s road to the final, he had to go through world number 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. The Norwegian won the rematch of the 2023 French Open final after losing to the Serbian in their five previous encounters. 

Ruud won in three sets, 6-4 1-6 6-4, breaking ealy in the first set and then holding his nerve in the third set. Djokovic wasn’t at his normal best, making a number of unforced errors which cost him in the deciding set.

Next up on the tour is the Barcelona Open which is set to take place between Apr 13–21, 2024. Both Tsitsipas and Ruud have announced they’ll be playing in the tournament which will be missing defending champion Carlos Alcaraz. Alcaraz was forced to withdraw from the competition after sustaining a forearm injury. 

Spanish legend Rafael Nadal is set to make his comeback in Barcelona, just in time for a clay court push before the French Open. While he isn’t expected to be at his best after missing months of action, Nadal should prove to be a dangerous opponent on his favourite surface. This could be exactly what the 22 time grand slam champion needs to get his form back.

With Alcaraz out, Andrey Rublev enters the tournament as the top seeded player, with Tsitsipas and Alex de Minaur closely following.