By Karolos Grohmann
PARIS (Reuters) – Stefanos Tsitsipas put his three-set mauling by top seed Carlos Alcaraz in their French Open quarter-final down to sleeping pills, pre-match naps, and late matches rather than the Spaniard’s sensational quality.
Alcaraz pulverised the fifth seed to take a 6-2 6-1 5-1 lead with a jaw-dropping display before a brief comeback by Tsitsipas forced a third set tiebreak which the Spaniard won as well.
While Alcaraz described the win as one of the best of his career, for his opponent the defeat was self-induced.
“One thing that I’m going to try to avoid in the future is have melatonin pills and naps before matches because it clearly doesn’t seem to be working,” a visibly disappointed Tsitsipas said.
“I don’t think he played any crazy tennis. I allowed it to happen. I don’t think he played his best match. He played great. I mean, I don’t think he played exceptional, but he played great.”
“He played tennis with few errors and that was enough to beat me.”
Alcaraz needed just 100 minutes to go two sets and 5-1 up in the third on Court Philippe Chatrier, having outclassed his opponent in every single aspect of the game.
Tsitsipas, however, said a 20-minute nap before the match as well as the use of melatonin tablets to regulate his sleep during the tournament and late matches in Paris had been decisive.
“I had some late-night sessions. Not super late, but late enough for me to kind of have my sleep schedule ruined, in a way,” he said.
Tsitsipas did not play a single late night session match during the tournament before his match against Alcaraz.
“I wondered myself why I did not feel the adrenalin and stress,” he said. “I wondered in my first service game. I was more calm than usual. I tried to nap before the game. About 20 minutes which I usually do not do, actually never done.”
“My start was highly likely down to this.”
The 24-year-old Greek burst onto the scene as a hugely talented teenager a few years ago but has yet to land a Grand Slam title.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis)
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