Stefanos Tsitsipas has defeated young gun Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 to reach the final of the Barcelona Opne for the third time.

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz swept past Dan Evans 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday to set up a final clash with Tsitsipas.

World number five Tsitsipas needed three sets to beat Musetti, who put up a decent fight.

“We had to cover lots of metres on the court and he had some incredible defensive shots that I really didn’t expect at all, it was such a mental challenge,” said Tsitsipas.

“I had to go out there and fight it all through (with) the determination of a lion, and just (went) out there to do the best I can.”

Musetti twice went a break up in an entertaining first set, but Tsitsipas, runner-up at the Australian Open in January, battled back immediately both times.

The Italian saved match point in the second set at 5-4 down to force a decisive third set, but was outplayed by his opponent, who showed more focus than earlier on.

Tsitsipas survived a break point in the first game of the third set and then broke himself for 2-0, applying pressure on Musetti’s serve.

Musetti did not have to play his quarter-final clash after Jannik Sinner withdrew through illness, but Tsitsipas was the stronger in the third set.

Tsitsipas wrapped up the win after two hours and 28 minutes, seeing out his final two service games without dropping a point.

World number two Alcaraz beat Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals at Barcelona last year in three sets in what was the Spaniard’s third win in three meetings against the Greek.

“I feel really comfortable playing here in Barcelona and (I’m) playing well,” said Alcaraz, who has not dropped a set in the tournament this year.

“Stefanos is playing great matches as well. Last year we had a spicy match, let’s say.

“I know he’s a really nice guy off the court, so I’m going to try to forget everything that has happened in the matches before, try to focus on my game tomorrow, and try to get the win.”

Alcaraz missed the Monte Carlo Masters last week because of hand and back problems and has not been at his most consistent on his way to the final.

An easy win over Nuno Borges was followed by trickier triumphs against Spanish compatriots Roberto Bautista Agut and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Chasing down his third title of the season after triumphs at Buenos Aires and Indian Wells, home favourite Alcaraz started impressively.

The 19-year-old top seed won the first game without dropping a point, sealing it with an ace, ominously for Evans, who was pulled all over the court.

Alcaraz broke for a 3-1 lead and the 2022 US Open champion showed little mercy from then on, winning six consecutive games before Evans broke for the first time, to trail 4-1 in the second set.

Alcaraz clinched victory after an hour and 20 minutes with another pinpoint winner past Evans.

Tsitsipas lost on both occasions he reached the Barcelona final against Rafael Nadal in 2018 and 2021.

Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam title winner, pulled out this year as he recovers from a hip injury.

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