Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button Follow Me on Pinterest
NewsVideosScoresTV ListingsTournamentsRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastMagazine

By Richard Pagliaro | Thursday, May 18, 2023


Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Borna Coric 6-3, 6-4 to reach his second straight Rome semifinal—and set up a showdown with nemesis Daniil Medvedev.

Photo credit: Internazionali BNL d'Italia Facebook

Playing catch-up all day, Borna Coric finally broke Stefanos Tsitsipas to level the second set—and elicit a spiking roar from Rome fans.

Hearing the clamor, Tsitsipas pressed the mute button.

More: Rafa Nadal to Say Farewell

Striking with buzz kill clarity, Tsitsipas conquered Coric 6-3, 6-4 to sweep into his second straight Rome semifinal—and a rematch with nemesis Daniil Medvedev.

In a match of Masters 1000 champions, Coric rattled a shanked forehand to break for the first time and level the second set at 4-all.

In the aftermath, Tsitsipas walked over to chair umpire Carlos Bernardes and griped about what he called Coric's growing grunt.

"He grunts before I hit. I've never seen it before," Tsitsipas said while initially covering his mouth. "I'm about to hit and I hear 'ah ah ah ah.'

"It should not happen. It's not very sportsmanlike."

To our ears, Coric's grunt did not sound unusually long or elongated.

After Tsitsipas complained, he quieted Coric drawing three errors to break back before serving out the match in 96 minutes. 

The Tsitsipas serve has been superb all tournament. Tsitsipas has dropped serve just three times in 42 service games.

Today, Tsitsipas won 26 of 29 first-serve points and denied three of four break points.

Earlier, Medvedev ended the Cinderella run of 31-year-old German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 6-2.

The fifth-seeded Tsitsipas has blitzed through four tournament wins without dropping a set to reach his third career Rome semifinal.

Past clashes between Medvedev and Tsitsipas have combined the intensity of an MMA fight with the head games of a chess match.

The third-seeded Medvedev has won seven of 11 meetings vs. Tsitsipas though the pair have split two prior clay-court encounters.

Playing for his fifth title of the season and first clay-court crown of his career, ATP wins leader Medvedev said he's not the favorite.

"With Rune and Ruud, for me I don't want to say this word 'clay court specialists', but they like to play on clay... and Stefanos has probably established himself as one of the top three, four players in the last years on clay," Medvedev said. "I definitely don't put myself as a favorite, but I have been playing extremely well here, feeling extremely well.

"So if I manage to play this well in the semifinals, I'm sure I'm going to give a hard time to my opponent. That's what I want to do. Hopefully I can go even further and try to win two more matches."

Tennis Express

Facing off for their first clay-court clash, both Tsitsipas and Coric were assertive on serve at the outset.

Tsitsipas permitted just three points in his first four service games taking a 4-3 lead.

The 2022 Rome runner-up made his move in the eighth game. Coric sprayed a couple of forehands to face break point. Tsitsipas dropped back to give himself plenty of time to set up for his expansive swings. Slashing a crosscourt backhand, Tsitsipas drew a backhand error breaking for 5-3.

Serving for the set, Tsitsipas saved two break points then dabbed a slick backhand drop shot winner to seal a one-set lead after 39 minutes.

Tsitsipas won 15 of 16 first-serve points and often controlled play on serve with his forehand.

Feeling the heat from the Greek's forehand, Coric tried playing closer to the lines only to hit himself into a break point. Coric attacked down the line, but Tsitsipas zapped a running forehand pass down the line scoring the first break of the second set for 2-1.

The 24-year-old Greek backed up the break at 30 for 3-1. Tsitsipas had a shot to go up a double break for a 5-2 lead in the seventh game, but Coric soothed stress and stood firm for 3-4.

Still Tsitsipas proved his own worst enemy spitting up a couple of double faults and giving Coric a couple of opportunities to break back.

The Cincinnati champion cranked his backhand crosscourt provoking a shanked forehand to break back and level after eight games.

After that game, Tsitsipas walked over to chair umpire Carlos Bernardes and complained about Coric's grunting that he said was getting so extensive it was becoming a hindrance.

Coric crumbled in the ninth game, netting a couple of forehand errors and netting his trusty two-hander to face a break point. Hit with a time violation warning before serving, Coric tried the surprise serve-and-volley.

Tsitsipas was not fooled.

The lanky Greek lashed a clean crosscourt backhand pass breaking with a shout for 5-4.

The finish line in sight, Tsitsipas sprinted through it. Tsitsipas snapped off some fierce first serves to close in 96 minutes.

Despite the grunt gripe, there didn't appear to be any animosity as the pair shook hands at net and Tsitsipas tapped Coric on the chest leveling their head-to-head series at 3-3.


Latest News