Zizou Bergs took out third-seeded Daniel Elahi Galan 6-4 6-2 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals in Poznań. The Belgian’s ball-striking was incredibly crisp and aggressive, allowing him to dominate the higher-ranked opponent. But a performance of such a high standard probably wouldn’t have been possible, if not for one point that he won over a week ago.
Last week in Troisdorf, Bergs saved a match point against Rudolf Molleker in the opening round, eventually going on to reach the final. “I had a rough period over the past five, six weeks. I finished hard court and I got into the pre-season and got sick, so was out of competition a pretty long time. Body wasn’t ready, so the match against Molleker was for me really super important. I was saying to myself ‘Okay, Zizou it’s time to get out of it. It’s time right here, right now to do it. And luckily, I did it, saving a match point.’
“From there on, also knowing myself it’s always been a good turning point, also I had those kinds of matches where I still won the first round and I ended up winning the tournament. This time it was different, I lost in the final, but it shows how important these matches are for me.” said the Belgian, asked whether without these few good matches in Troisdorf he’d have been able to play as well as he did on Thursday in Poznań. “That’s why today I’m playing this aggressive, feeling confident on court.”
Internet personality, Tie-Break Tens
Bergs is very active on social media, especially on his popular TikTok profile, which at the time of writing has 34 thousand followers. “To be honest, the negative saying on my profile is very little. Of course, after every match, you get reactions from gamblers, but I don’t take it personally at all. When I see the message I just block the people, that’s all. I’m active on social media, it’s just something that I see possibilities in, to grow yourself into the market and stuff, so it’s also a way of educating different than at the university. I also study at university, I know how important it is. I’m very eager to learn things. (…) Of course, it takes time and distracts me maybe a little from tennis, but I feel like I find the right balance.”
Last year, Bergs got a last-minute call up to play a Tie-Break Tens event in Dubai, which he won, beating Taylor Fritz, Gael Monfils, and Dustin Brown along the way. “The shame was that after it I did holidays, I did a very long pre-season, so I didn’t really benefit from that moment (in terms of confidence), but it was just an awesome experience. I will remember it forever, I had a last-evening call, ‘Hey, you wanna come over?’ That’s just something that I will keep in mind.
“That year I was also very good in tie-breaks, every tie-break from the summer that I played, I was winning it. Also winning tie-break tens under a lot of pressure still made me realize ‘Okay Zizou, you are a guy who can step up his game when it’s needed, when it’s important to be clutch.’ And that’s the thing I’m learning this year, how to be clutch,” said the 22-year-old, who will turn 23 on the day of his quarterfinal match against Tomas Barrios Vera.
Main Photo: Dawid Szafraniak/Poznań Open 2022