Tue, 22 Jun 2021

PARIS, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Fifth seed Stefano Tsitsipas reached the French Open semifinals for the second consecutive year after beating second seed Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5 on Tuesday night.

The Greek will next take on Germany's sixth seed Alexander Zverev, who overcame Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 in just one hour and 36 minutes to claim a place in the clay-court major semifinals for the first time in his career.

Tsitsipas leads Zverev 5-2 in their previous seven encounters, but the German was the winner of the most recent one, outlasting the other in Acapulco, Mexico, earlier this year.

"I feel privileged that I'm in that position, and I feel obviously I've put in a lot of daily hard work (that) has been a key element of me being here," Tsitsipas said. "But, you know, my ego tells me I want more."

Medvedev, however, has set his own best in Paris as he started this year's tournament with an embarrassing 0-4 record in Paris - losing four times in the first round.

Tsitsipas went into the match strong, just like what he did since the beginning of this year. He served flawlessly in the opening set, winning 17 of 20 first-serve points and executing an 83% percent first-serve percentage.

"I was even kind of surprised the first set," the 25-year-old Medvedev said after the match.

"That's why it went so easy on his side because I didn't expect such great level from him, especially I felt like I played good guys like Bublik, Garin, Tommy Paul actually, that played good from baseline, and I felt that I was on top of them in the rallies so I felt I could continue doing this today like on the hardcourt.

"It was not the case so I had to change."

The Russian restored in the second and tried to play with more variety. The match became toe-to-toe and the second seed earned two set points at 5-4, but only to be saved by Tsitsipas's big serves. The fifth seed then dominated in the tiebreak to take a two-set lead.

Medvedev didn't give up and clawed back once again in the deciding set, creating five break opportunities on Tsitsipas's serves, and converted two of them to take a 4-2 lead. But Tsitsipas responded well by winning eight of the next nine points to break back and overturned the set 5-4.

Down match point at 6-5, Medvedev inexplicably served and volleyed behind an underarm serve that popped up into Tsitsipas' strike zone, and the Greek player gleefully spanked a down-the-line topspin backhand winner to seal the match.

"I felt like there was something coming up, so at that point, I think I got prepared for it," Tsitsipas said of Medvedev's underarm serve. "It's that less of a second when you realize something is about to change from a regular (serve). It was fine. I mean, I (did) what I had to do."

The defeat also ended Medvedev's bid to clinch the world's No.1 spot from Novak Djokovic.

Top seed Djokovic will play Italy's ninth seed Matteo Berrettini on Wednesday while defending champion Rafael Nadal faces the challenge from Argentina's Diego Schwartzman.

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