Sport Tennis Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up Alexander Zverev French Open semi-final

Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up Alexander Zverev French Open semi-final

Stefanos Tsitsipas has claimed victory over Daniil Medvedev at the French Open. Photo: Getty
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Stefanos Tsitsipas has roared to a straight sets victory over world No.2 Daniil Medvedev in their heavyweight French Open encounter, advancing to a juggernaut semi-final showdown with Alexander Zverev.

The brilliant Tsitsipas had to withstand some superb counter-attacking tennis from Medvedev before racing into the last-four with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 victory in a match featuring the sort of quality exchanges that simply demanded a crowd.

Instead the eerily quiet Court Philippe Chatrier, empty because of the night-time pandemic curfew, saw two of the biggest young stars in the game engage in a thrilling contest during which Tsitsipas played one of his finest matches to prevail after two hours and 19 minutes.

The match finished in extraordinary fashion as Medvedev, who’d seen a 40-0 lead disappear while serving at 5-6 in the third set, threw in an underarm serve in desperation with Tsitsipas sitting on match point.

It backfired calamitously as the Greek latched on to the trickery and struck home a backhand winner past the advancing Russian.

The victory set up a clash with Zverev, who also moved an impressive step closer to becoming the youngest man in a decade to lift a grand slam singles title, as he swept past Spain’s rising star Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The imposing Zverev, no longer the German wunderkind, appears to be at last really punching his weight and had too much power and know-how for the 22-year-old Spaniard, blitzing to victory 6-4 6-1 6-1 in just one hour 36 minutes.

The 24-year-old made it clear on court afterwards that he felt the win was just a stepping stone as he hopes to become the youngest men’s grand slam singles winner since Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon 2011.

“Obviously, it’s very nice to be in the semi-finals but just being here doesn’t satisfy me,” Zverev said.

“I know I’m playing pretty okay and I hope I can continue playing the same way, maybe even better in the semi-finals and we’ll see what it holds.”

Davidovich Fokina, a bouncy figure with a touch of the young Boris Becker about him, was off his game, looking uncharacteristically hangdog after two draining five-setters.

He did, however, enjoy an opening set flurry in which he broke a tense Zverev three times, tormenting him with excellent drop shots, and watched the German have a tetchy exchange with the chair umpire Alison Hughes over a line call that went against him.

But broken himself four times in the opener, it was soon downhill for the Spaniard as Zverev found his rhythm and range, powering through the next two sets for the loss of just two more games as Davidovich Fokina’s unforced error count reached a sorry 37.

In all, Davidovich Fokina, the world No.46, was able to hold serve just three times during the contest against the No.6 seed as Zverev became the first German man to make the semis at Roland Garros since Michael Stich in 1996.

His final flourish was spectacular, an unstoppable backhand for his 24th winner of the afternoon which brought him a 15th successive set since his first round five-set scare against qualifier Oscar Otte.

-AAP