US Open: Tsitsipas rues shock first-round exit amid number one ranking aspirations

·2-min read

Stefanos Tsitsipas had a shot at rising to the number one ranking at the 2022 US Open but instead he is out in the first round following a four-set loss to Daniel Galan on Monday.

The world number 94 stunned recent Western and Southern Open finalist Tsitsipas in the first two sets by winning the first 11 games of the match, before the Greek rallied but Galan would triumph 6-0 6-1 3-6 7-5 in two hours and 48 minutes.

World number five Tsitsipas, yet to go beyond the third round at Flushing Meadows, did need treatment for forearm tightness but admitted he was simply "dominated" by Galan, who eventually prevailed on his ninth match point.

The 24-year-old had some form after reaching the final in Cincinnati earlier this month, losing to Borna Coric, and felt it was a missed opportunity to press his case for the top rank across the next fortnight in Novak Djokovic's absence.

"I was very motivated and pumped before the US Open started because I knew I could use this tournament to get closer to the number one spot," Tsitsipas said.

"It would be very weird and very unusual if it didn't cross my mind, because this is something I wanted since I was a kid and I know this is my chance now to step it up.

"It just didn't go as planned. Sometimes you just need to let it go, you don't need to overthink it, you don't need to push yourself too hard but at the same time it's difficult because there's this open opportunity right in front of you, you don't want to mess it up, you don't want to waste it.

"My chances are a bit smaller. The margin is not as thin as it used to be now after the US Open but I'm still going to try and add points to my ranking, as much as I can until the end of the year, I really want to perhaps finish in the top three… more opportunities ahead."

Tsitsipas, who only won seven points in the opening set, hit 57 unforced errors for the match compared to Galan's 36.

The Greek only managed 28 winners, with Galan hitting 41, while the Colombian also had the better of the all the key serve categories, winning 74 per cent on his first serve.

"He dominated the match," Tsitsipas said. "I just couldn't get into it."