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Davis Cup: World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas makes quick work of AJ Lim

Davis Cup: World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas makes quick work of AJ Lim

By Kristel Satumbaga

He wasn’t world No. 6 for nothing.

Stefanos Tsitsipas dazzled the crowd with flashes of world-class brilliance as he dominated local bet AJ Lim 6-2, 6-1 on Friday to give Greece a 1-0 lead in the World Group II playoff tie against the Philippines at the Philippine Columbian Association claycourt in Paco, Manila.

World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns the ball to Philippines' AJ Lim in the singles match of Davis Cup World Group II playoff tie at the Philippine Columbian Association claycourt in Paco, Manila, March 6, 2020. (Handout photo)

World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns the ball to Philippines’ AJ Lim in the singles match of Davis Cup World Group II playoff tie at the Philippine Columbian Association claycourt in Paco, Manila, March 6, 2020. (Handout photo)

The 21-year-old Greek sensation dictated the tempo throughout the 53-minute match, displaying powerful one-handed backhands and a strong baseline game that had the crowd gushing on every point.

In the end, it was all too much for 20-year-old Lim, who dropped his serve five times.

Tsitsipas said it was not easy for him, either.

“It was quite difficult to adjust to the court. The bounce was kinda all over the place, but I still found ways to give the ball back,” said Tsitsipas, who is coming off a runner-up finish to Novak Djokovic at the Dubai Tennis Championships last weekend.

“I think I played okay. Enough to win (today).”

Tsitsipas said the hot and humid conditions inside the court was the most difficult, adding that he was not used to such hot and humid conditions.

“That last game was really difficult. I tell you, it feels like a sauna in there,” he said.

“But I think it’s good for my cardio.”

Tsitsipas had good words for Lim despite his lopsided victory.

“He came in quite nervous, I think, but he slightly improve from time to time. It’s also not easy for me because I know deep inside I really have to work for the points. I just stayed consistent and he didn’t, so that’s the difference,” he said.

Philippines' AJ Lim returns the ball to world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the singles match of Davis Cup World Group II playoff tie at the Philippine Columbian Association claycourt in Paco, Manila, March 6, 2020. (Handout photo)

Philippines’ AJ Lim returns the ball to world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the singles match of Davis Cup World Group II playoff tie at the Philippine Columbian Association claycourt in Paco, Manila, March 6, 2020. (Handout photo)

Lim, for his part, said he did the best he could, but Tsitsipas was another level.

“He was just unreal,” he said. “I gave everything I had, but he just countered everything.”

Jeson Patrombon currently plays Petros Tsitsipas with hopes of leveling the tie heading to Saturday’s crucial doubles match between veterans Francis Casey Alcantara and Ruben Gonzales against Petros and Markos Kalovelonis, followed by the reverse singles between Stefanos and Patrombon, and Petros against Lim.

Changes, however, can be made a few hours before the match.

Tags: 2020 Davis Cup, AJ Lim, Davis Cup, Davis Cup World Group II playoff, Stefanos Tsitsipas