Tsitsipas To Meet Musetti In Lyon Semi-finals

Greek star dominates with serve

Stefanos Tsitsipas competed with great intensity on Friday to move within one step of the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon final.

The second-seeded Greek, who has compiled an ATP Tour-best 31 match wins on the season (31-8), did little wrong in a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka in 66 minutes.

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“It was a good match from my side, he was serving well,” said Tsitsipas. “His game is a little unpredictable and he is one of the best left-handers out there. It’s never easy to construct the point and he is able to penetrate and play shots you don’t expect. I knew he was going to fight and not give up. I am pretty glad to have won.”

The World No. 5, who leads the FedEx ATP Race To Turin for a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in November, will now face 19-year-old #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti. Tsitsipas beat Musetti 6-1, 6-3 in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC semi-finals two months ago.

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Tsitsipas put Nishioka under constant pressure, breaking courtesy of a backhand long for 4-2 in the first set, which ended after 31 minutes. Tsitsipas, who lost just eight of his service points (40/48), gained a 2-1 lead in the second set courtesy of another error and didn’t look back.

Nishioka, 25, is now 5-10 on the season.

Also in action, eighth seed Karen Khachanov celebrated his 25th birthday with a 6-1, 7-6(3) victory over Richard Gasquet to reach his first clay-court semi-final. After the victory, the fans in Lyon sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to the delighted Russian.

Khachanov dominated the first set with a double break, winning the last five games of the set on the trot. He had to come back from a break down in the second set twice as Gasquet, who won in Lyon in 2006 (indoor carpet), staged a late comeback effort.

With the French crowd behind him, Gasquet held a set point at 5-4 on the Russian’s serve. But Khachanov held firm, and claimed the victory in the tie-break after an hour and 26 minutes.

In his second semi-final of 2021, Khachanov will face the winner of French lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech and Cameron Norrie. Norrie led Rinderknech 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 on Friday night when rain suspended play.