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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday May 6, 2022

 
Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas remained hot on the clay, while defending champ Alexander Zverev stretched his Madrid win streak to eight.

Photo Source: Getty

Stefanos Tsitsipas continued his torrid tennis on the red clay and Alexander Zverev maintained his dominance at the Madrid Masters as both passed through to the semifinals at the Caja Majica on Friday.

Tennis Express

Tsitsipas was first through, edging Russia’s Andrey Rublev 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in a battle that could have gone either way. It was the Greek who held firm in the dying moments – he broke for 5-4 in the third and finished off his victory to improve to an eye-catching 33-6 on clay since the start of 2021.

The No.4 seed, a 2019 Madrid finalist, improves to 5-4 against Rublev with the triumph and climbs atop the ATP leaderboard in match wins, with 27 victories against eight losses.

“My beliefs came to reality,” Tsitsipas said of his narrow victory.


Zverev improved to 18-2 lifetime at Madrid with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime. The German is the 2018 and 2021 champion in Madrid and clearly thrives in the conditions. He was awe-inspiring at times on Friday, giving the Canadian very little to work with as he smothered him with pulsating, penetrating power off of both wings.

But doubts emerged as Zverev lost the cadence of his serve and started to lose velocity as he racked up double-faults in the second set. Auger-Aliassime capitalized with a break back and rallied from 4-1 down to level. He threatened to push things to a decider before Zverev used his relentless ground game to close the door.

The nine double-faults hurt the German but his stellar play from every other position on the court still left Zverev a cut above the 21-year-old on the day. He closed his victory in one hour and 55 minutes to set an 11th meeting with Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas won decisively over Zverev en route to the title last month at Monte-Carlo, and holds a 7-3 edge lifetime over Zverev, including 3-0 on clay.

"I couldn't put a serve in the court," Zverev said of his struggles. "I had chances to go up 5-1 in the second set and I think the match would have been over. But I didn't use my chances and he fought back well. But I kept fighting as well, and that's how I got the win."

But he added: "I think this was maybe the best match of the last few months from my side, except maybe the end a little bit. Throughout one-and-a-half sets I played good tennis and I hope I can continue playing this way."

 

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