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By Alberto Amalfi | Friday, May 13, 2022


Stefanos Tsitsipas swept home hero Jannik Sinner 7-6(5), 6-2 to roll into the Rome semifinals and a rematch vs. Alexander Zverev.

Photo credit: Internazionali BNL d'Italia

Italian fans were chanting "Jannik! Jannik!" as home hero Jannik Sinner pushed Stefanos Tsitsipas to a tiebreaker.

A finely-tuned Tsitsipas amped up the volume on his drives muting the crowd and maintaining his mastery of Sinner.

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World No. 5 Tsitsipas swept Sinner  7-6(5), 6-2 to roll into the Rome semifinals for the second time.

"It was a good match that I was able to bring out on the court," Tsitsipas said. "He also had his moments where he was really stepping in and being very determined of his shot selection and his game plan. He wasn't easy to play against today.

"My performance was very consistent, especially in the tiebreak where I had to take some decisions. In these critical moments, I was really precise and knew exactly what I'm going to follow and how am I going to do it. It worked in my favor.

"Risking a little bit in the moments where I saw the opportunity to be right there, I went for it, came in. I think my volleys were able to give me successful points there that probably others wouldn't have taken and went to the net."

Tennis Express

The fourth-seeded Greek broke in Sinner's first and last serve games and dispensed some all-court torment in between beating the Italian for the fourth time in five meetings, including posting his second win in three Rome encounters.

“I am happy things turned out well. It was a great day at the office,” Tsitsipas said afterward. “I was able to really step it up in the second set and I think the most important part was that first set tiebreak. I really went for it when I had to. I didn’t overthink or hesitate and that paid off in the end.”

Tsitsipas improved to 30-9 in 2022 posting his 11th victory in 15 career Masters 1000 quarterfinal.

In a rematch of the Australian Open quarterfinals, Tsitsipas used his serve and forehand to open up the court and keep the lanky Italian moving in a two hour, 24-minute victory.

Deadlocked 5-all in the tiebreaker, Tsitsipas played big and bold following an inside-out forehand forward and knocking off a forehand volley for set point. Holding his ground at net, Tsitsipas hit another forehand volley winner to take a hard-fought 87-minute opening set.

The second serve proved decisive disparity in this duel. Tsitisipas won 16 of 23 points played on Sinner's second serve (70 percent), broke at 15 for a 2-1 second-set lead and added a love break for 5-2.

The victory vaults Tsitsipas into his third straight clay Masters 1000 showdown vs. Alexander Zverev.

Olympic gold-medal champion Zverev burst through nine of the final 11 games defeating former junior nemesis Cristian Garin 7-5, 6-2.

It was satisfying redemption for Zverev as Garin beat the German to win the 2013 Roland Garros boys' title and scored a three-set win in their lone prior meeting in Munich three years ago.

The 2017 Rome champion saved four of five break points in a one hour, 51-minute win. Fresh off his run to the Madrid final last week, Zverev is playing for his first title and third final of the year.

"I feel sorry for Rafa," Zverev said when asked about 10-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal aggravating his foot injury in a loss to Denis Shapovalov last night. "Hopefully he can be fit. He has 10 days' time to be able to play in Paris.

"Look, I think Alcaraz is one of the [Roland Garros] favorites. Novak is one of the favorites. Tsitsipas. If I get in form, I can do well there. There's a lot of guys that can play well on this surface."

Two-time Monte-Carlo champion Tsitsipas owns a 7-4 record vs. the German, but Zverev won their last meeting 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the Madrid semifinals on Saturday. It was Zverev's first triumph on clay in four dirt meetings vs. the Greek.

Though it's been an acrimonious rivalry at times—Zverev accused Tsitsipas of receiving illegal coach via cell phone during his bathroom break in Cincinnati last summer—the Roland Garros runner-up said he respects Zverev.

"He definitely pushes me to do better," Tsitsipas told Tennis Channel's Prakash Amritraj. "He's a very difficult opponent in my opinion. He has weapons that if he’s on a good day he can be really tough to beat. I have a lot of respect for him.

"He’s someone who has done tremendously well even before I started on the ATP Tour. He has been there for many years. I always kind of looked up to him and wanted to get to where he is. For me, it’s another day at the office where I’m gonna focus on my biggest strengths and use it in the best possible way."


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