Tsitsipas, Gasquet emerging as the only two title contenders at the UTS

Stefanos Tsitsipas won his 8th UTS match in dominating fashion, winning 4-0 against his upcoming semifinals opponent, David Goffin. As we move into the final day of the tournament, we look back at the final day of action before the top four compete for the title.

Match #1: The Tornado (Corentin Moutet) def. The Machine (Holger Rune) 3-2

Holger Rune came out slow in his first-ever UTS match as Matteo Berrettini’s one-day substitute. After starting out slow by losing the first two quarters, Rune tied up the match after two dominating quarters and forced sudden death. He couldn’t pull it out in the end and Moutet finished this year’s UTS with a victory.

Match #2: The Artist (Dustin Brown) def. The Sniper (Alexei Popyrin) 3-2

Popyrin capped off his UTS event by doing what he’s been doing best as of recent: losing. He’s won only a single match out of his last seven and has fallen from a potential semifinals competitor to a perennial loser alongside Benoit Paire and Dustin Brown.

Brown has rebounded nicely over the last few weeks after losing his first 5 UTS matches. He’ll still finish last in the event but his steady improvement shows a good sign for his return to action on the ATP Tour next month if he is to qualify.

Match #3: The Greek God (Stefanos Tsitsipas) def. The Wall (David Goffin) 4-0

The match served as a preview for what’s to come tomorrow. Unfortunately for Goffin, it isn’t looking that hot. Tsitsipas dominated from start to finish and combined to outscore his opponent 70-47 in four dominating quarters (Tsitsipas won by an average by 5.75 points per quarter).

The UTS #1 moved to 8-1 with his win and now has a point differential of +120 (an absurd 48 points higher than Berrettini’s +72). Tsitsipas isn’t just winning his matches; he’s dominating them. He totaled 8 aces and 19 winners in his win today and is showing absolutely no signs of slowing up.

Goffin is now locked into the 4th spot and will have to face the incredibly hot Tsitsipas tomorrow in the semifinals. Looking at the matchup on paper, it’ll be the German’s last contending match of the tournament.

Match #4: The Virtuoso (Richard Gasquet) def. The Rebel (Benoit Paire) 3-1

Gasquet has proven his worth as a top UTS player. He’s distancing himself from Berrettini and Goffin and is emerging as the only player to have a chance at rivaling Tsitsipas for the title. Outside of a second-quarter loss, Gasquet brought his A-game in his 3-1 win. He outscored Paire by an average of 8 points per quarter in the quarters that he won.

Heading into tomorrow, the Frenchman will have to defeat Berrettini before facing off against Tsitsipas in the final. The way he’s playing, it’s highly likely we’ll see him battling until the very end.

Match #5: The Torero (Feliciano Lopez) def. The Underdog (Elliot Benchetrit) 3-1

With this win, Lopez finished a mere one game behind Goffin for the 4th spot. In hindsight, Lopez was the only player that had a real shot at contending for the semifinals. His four wins were solid ones but he simply couldn’t rack up enough of them to qualify.

Semifinals Preview

Today’s Placement Day didn’t provide as much movement as some may have hoped; Tsitsipas remains as the #1 seed and will face Goffin. Gasquet and Berrettini will face off in the other semifinal match.

I discussed in my last UTS piece about how I think the semifinals will play out. Tsitsipas is undeniably the best player in this event. None of the three other semifinalists are on his level. It could’ve been argued that Berrettini was neck and neck with Tsitsipas a few weeks ago. Fast forward to the present and Berrettini slipped from 1st place at 4-1 to 3rd place with a 5-3 record.

Gasquet has been playing well, especially as of the last few weeks. As Berrettini has slipped, Gasquet has taken the reigns from him as the second-best player in the field. He’s won his last three matches and four of his last five. He and Berrettini will have a great battle tomorrow but Berrettini should regain his composure to take the win. Gasquet’s only loss came to Berrettini (who won 4-0).

Tsitsipas-Gasquet should be a tight match. The only time these two faced off in this event came during Day 2. Tsitsipas won the match in a tightly-contested match that went into sudden death. Times have changed, however, and while Gasquet is at the top of his game, Tsitsipas is simply at a higher level.

The UTS semifinals begin tomorrow, July 12th.