World No 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame Italian Jannik Sinner 7-6(5), 6-2 and a raucous home crowd to reach the semifinals of the Italian Open, here on Friday.
In front of vocal fans on centre court, the Greek kept his composure as he demonstrated great footwork to dictate with his forehand and move past the 20-year-old in two hours and 24 minutes.
The fourth seed, who also advanced to the last four in 2019, consistently took the ball on the rise and drove his groundstrokes through the court as he countered Sinner’s heavy-hitting to improve to 4-1 in their ATP Head to Head series.
Tsitsipas will now face Alexander Zverev in the semifinals after the German downed Cristian Garin 7-5, 6-2. It will be the third time this season that they have played in the semi-finals at a clay-court ATP Masters 1000 event, with the Greek defeating the German en route to the title in Monte Carlo, before Zverev gained revenge in Madrid last week.
The 23-year-old, who saved two match points to defeat Grigor Dimitrov in his opening clash in Rome, has now earned a tour-leading 30 wins this year.
In an entertaining first set, Tsitsipas flew out of the blocks and into a 3-0 lead as Sinner struggled to cope with the Greek’s depth and weight of shot.However, the Italian then started to settle and produce the kind of tennis that saw him crack the Top 10 last year, finding the corners with regularity as he began to dictate more with his backhand and fight back.
With nothing separating them, a tie-break was left to decide the opener and it was Tsitsipas who raised his level from 5/5, swatting away two forehand volleys to clinch the set in 86 minutes.
Tsitsipas continued to apply the pressure at the start of the second set, breaking immediately as Sinner started to struggle physically. The Greek was solid on serve, consistent off the ground and successfully dealt with Sinner’s drop shots to triumph.