Stefanos Tsitsipas stood up and delivered Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, overcoming Italian Jannik Sinner and a raucous home crowd to reach the semi-finals in Rome for the second time.
In front of vocal fans on centre court, the Greek kept his composure as he demonstrated great footwork to dictate with his forehand and move past the 20-year-old 7-6(5), 6-2 in two hours and 24 minutes.
“I am happy things turned out well. It was a great day at the office,” Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. “I was able to really step it up in the second set and I think the most important part was that first set tie-break. I really went for it when I had to. I didn’t overthink or hesitate and that paid off in the end.”
The fourth seed, who also advanced to the last four in 2019, consistently took the ball on the rise and drove his groundstrokes through the court as he countered Sinner’s heavy-hitting to improve to 4-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.
Tsitsipas will next meet Alexander Zverev after the German downed Cristian Garin 7-5, 6-2. It will be the third time this season that they have played in the semi-finals at a clay-court ATP Masters 1000 event, with the Greek defeating the German en route to the title in Monte Carlo, before Zverev gained revenge in Madrid last week.
“We have similar game styles but he is one of the most difficult players to play against on the Tour,” Tsitsipas said when looking ahead to his match against Zverev. “I have a lot of respect for him. He has achieved a lot so far and I try and look up to him with the things he has achieved.”
The 23-year-old, who saved two match points to defeat Grigor Dimitrov in his opening clash in Rome, has now earned a tour-leading 30 wins this year and is up to No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
In an entertaining first set, Tsitsipas flew out of the blocks and into a 3-0 lead as Sinner struggled to cope with the Greek’s depth and weight of shot. However, the Italian then started to settle and produce the kind of tennis that saw him crack the Top 10 last year, finding the corners with regularity as he began to dictate more with his backhand and fight back.
With nothing separating them, a tie-break was left to decide the opener and it was Tsitsipas who raised his level from 5/5, swatting away two forehand volleys to clinch the set in 86 minutes.
Tsitsipas continued to apply the pressure at the start of the second set, breaking immediately as Sinner started to struggle physically. The Greek was solid on serve, consistent off the ground and successfully dealt with Sinner’s drop shots to triumph.
The 10th seed was competing in his fourth Masters 1000 quarter-final after beating Pedro Martinez, countryman Fabio Fognini and Filip Krajinovic earlier this week. The 20-year-old was aiming to earn his second Top 10 win of the season, having defeated then-World No. 8 Andrey Rublev en route to the last eight in Monte Carlo.