However, the 22-year-old will have his work cut out on Sunday — he is 2-7 against Nadal and 2-5 playing Djokovic.
It’s your moment, @steftsitsipas. 💙Soak it in. #RolandGarros https://t.co/zHhhXRBwoc
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) 1623430208000
“All I can think of is my roots, a small place outside Athens where I dreamed to play on the big stage at the French Open,” said a tearful Tsitsipas on making his first final at the majors, secured on a fifth match point.
“It was nerve-wracking, so intense, I stayed alive. I went out there and fought. This win means a lot, it’s the most important one of my career so far.”
Tsitsipas took a 5-2 career lead over Zverev into the semi-final and he was the first to pounce with the only break of the opening set in the second game.
The rock-solid Greek didn’t give up a single break point although in an indication of the fine margins, Tsitsipas only hit one winner.
Bravo 👏#RolandGarros https://t.co/gEXtSjypQh
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) 1623430589000
Zverev, bidding to become the first German man since Michael Stich in 1996 to reach the final in Paris, raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set.
However, Tsitsipas’ greater composure saw him rack up six consecutive games to move two sets ahead.
The Greek had come into the semi-final certainly sharper having seen off three seeded players to get this far.
Zverev had needed five sets to beat his 152nd-ranked compatriot Oscar Otte in the first round and hadn’t faced a player inside the top 45 before Friday.
But Zverev carved a break in the third game of the third set and this time backed it up despite a lengthy, foul-mouthed rant at the umpire over a disputed line call.
The 24-year-old German, now fired up, broke in the opening game of the fourth set and levelled the semi-final in the 10th game on the back of a brutal 27-shot rally.
Tsitsipas, playing in his third consecutive semi-final at the majors, crucially saved three break points in the first game of the decider.
He made the most of the escape, breaking the German for 3-1 and quickly securing the advantage for 4-1.
In a 10-minute eighth game, Zverev saved four match points, the second of which with a drop shot, the third with an ace.
However, Tsitsipas held his nerve and claimed victory after over three and a half hours on court with his eighth ace of the match.