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French Open: Tsitsipas reaches maiden semis

French Open: Tsitsipas reaches maiden semis
Stefanos Tsitsipas was playing in his first French Open quarter-final
PARIS, OCT 7 (AGENCIES): | Publish Date: 10/7/2020 11:44:11 AM IST

 Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his first French Open semi-final with a commanding straight-set victory over Andrey Rublev, reports BBC Sports

Both players competed fiercely in the opening stages but pressure seemed to get the better of the Russian 13th seed when he served for the first set.

Tsitsipas, 22, took advantage to turn the tide and earn a 7-5 6-2 6-3 win. He will play top seed Novak Djokovic or 17th seed Pablo Carreno Busta for a place in Sunday’s final in Paris. “Playing like this, fighting and trying to find solutions, it is so satisfying to be able to play at that level,” Tsitsipas told Eurosport.

“I’m very happy that I managed to be in control and dictate the game. I knew I was facing a difficult opponent. I just played very smart and didn’t go for too much.”

Initially it looked as though the result would be a repeat of Rublev’s victory in last month’s Hamburg final, with the 22-year-old Russian in control in the first set. Both players engaged in an intense battle from the outset and had opportunities to break early on, but it was Rublev who struck first to go 3-2 up.

The Russian, who reached the US Open quarter-finals last month, kept up a barrage of powerful baseline shots but his nerves began to show as he served for the set and a forehand long gave Tsitsipas a break back. The 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist’s level continued to increase as Rublev faltered and the 13th seed scooped another forehand long to give Tsitsipas another break and the first set. The pair continued to offer entertaining rallies in the second set for the few fans allowed on Philippe Chatrier.

A string of unforced errors from Rublev and a net cord in Tsitsipas’ favour allowed the Greek to go 4-2 up. Again the Russian faltered under pressure, driving a backhand long to give his opponent a two-set lead. An increasingly fatigued-looking Rublev repeated the error to give Tsitsipas - winner of last year’s ATP Finals - a 3-1 lead in the third.

A perfectly-angled drop-shot gave Tsitsipas match point on Rublev’s serve but he could not convert and instead had to wait until the next game, where he completed the composed victory with a forehand volley.

Kvitova & Kenin through to semi-finals

Petra Kvitova reached the French Open semi-finals for the first time since 2012 as an emotional run continued with victory over Germany’s Laura Siegemund. reports BBC Sports. The Czech seventh seed maintained her record of not dropping a set at Roland Garros this year with a 6-3 6-3 win.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, 30, is bidding for a first Grand Slam title since returning from a career-threatening knife attack in 2016. She will face American Sofia Kenin for a spot in Saturday’s final.

Australian Open champion Kenin progressed 6-4 4-6 6-0 against compatriot Danielle Collins, after the world number 57 needed treatment in the deciding set. Collins claimed the second set but was broken to love in the opening game of the third and appeared to be struggling with an abdomen problem on Court Philippe Chatrier. Kenin, the 21-year-old fourth seed, quickly dispatched of her opponent without losing a game in a 29-minute final set to reach the semi-finals in Paris for the first time.

“This is really special, I am super happy and really loving the French crowd here. I knew I needed to be aggressive myself and take my chances. I feel I did a great job overall. I am proud of myself.”

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