Tsitsipas Battles Back To Beat Khachanov In Rotterdam

World No. 6 to play Rublev on Saturday

Stefanos Tsitsipas came within a point of a 1-4 deficit in the third set, but battled back to beat Karen Khachanov on Friday for a place in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament semi-finals.

Second seed Tsitsipas improved his perfect record to 3-0 against Khachanov in their ATP Head2Head series after a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory at the Rotterdam Ahoy over two hours and 42 minutes.

"He was playing great tennis and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to compete," said Tsitsipas. "I had an amazing 5-0 lead in the second set and that brought a lot of confidence into my game. We had great rallies and the quality of tennis was excellent. You need to stay as calm as possible in three-setters. I have won a lot in the past and with experience, it gives me an idea of how to play in these tight moments."

The 22-year-old Greek star, who hit 28 of 46 winners off his forehand wing, will next play fourth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev in Saturday’s semi-finals. Tsitsipas leads Rublev 3-2 in their ATP Head2Head series, with three matches coming last year in Hamburg, Roland Garros and at the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Tsitsipas started brightly, but Khachanov bounced back from a 0-2 deficit with a high level of tennis. The Russian secured the 46-minute opener after Tsitsipas hit a forehand into the net.

Tsitsipas hit 17 winners in the second set, rushing out to a 5-0 advantage after the Greek tightened up his serve. Khachanov had three points for a 4-1 lead in the third set only to see Tsitsipas recover.

Tsitsipas clawed his way back and his forehand did the damage to break Khachanov at 5-5 in the decider en route to his ninth win in 10 matches this season.

Khachanov is now 7-3 on the 2021 season, having advanced last month to the Great Ocean Road Open semi-finals (l. to Sinner) and the Australian Open third round (l. to Berrettini).

Borna Coric advanced to his first semi-final of the year with a 7-6(2), 7-6(4) victory against Kei Nishikori. The Croat fired 11 aces and saved eight of the 10 break points he faced to become the first unseeded player to defeat Nishikori in an ATP 500 quarter-final (1-8).

Coric has not dropped a set en route to the last four in Rotterdam. The 23-year-old, who claimed wins earlier this week against Botic Van de Zandschulp and Dusan Lajovic, will meet Marton Fucsovics for a spot in the championship match.

The Hunagrian was too solid for Tommy Paul, defeating the American 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 42 minutes. The qualifier will try to reach his first final since the Sofia Open in 2019.

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