Tsitsipas Downs Rublev For Madrid SF Spot

Fourth seed to face Auger-Aliassime or Zverev in semi-finals

Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame a serious examination from Andrey Rublev at the Mutua Madrid Open on Friday, clinching a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 victory in the Spanish capital to reach a 10th ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.

Tsitsipas lifted his second Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April and the 23-year-old looks to have maintained that form as he chases a second title of the season. Unlike his relatively straightforward opening victories in Madrid over Lucas Pouille and Grigor Dimitrov, however, the fourth seed’s meeting with Rublev was a see-saw affair in which both players enjoyed spells of domination.

“He was really applying a lot of force into the strokes, and it wasn’t easy predicting what was going to come next," said Tsitsipas after fending off two Rublev break points in the final game to clinch the win. "But I’m very glad with the way things ended.

"It’s never easy playing him, and I really had to survive that last game with my best strength and give out my soul, pretty much, to finish it in such a good way.”

A 4-4 ATP Head2Head series record coming into the match suggested little to separate Tsitsipas and Rublev, and so it proved in a dramatic encounter on Manolo Santana Stadium. Yet it was the Greek who finished strongest in a one-hour, 59-minute encounter as he avenged defeat in the pair’s most recent meeting at November's Nitto ATP Finals.

Tsitsipas came out firing on serve and took the first set courtesy of a break in the second game of the match. The Greek dropped just six points on serve behind his delivery in the set but was aided by a slow start from Rublev, who showed his frustration as he struggled to land his trademark booming groundstrokes.

As he did against Jack Draper and Daniel Evans in his previous matches, Rublev found a way to reset and he found his groove to storm back into the match in spectacular style. Rublev reeled off four games in a row from 2-2 in the second set as he began to showcase the sort of brutal forehand hitting that took him to an 11th tour-level title in Belgrade two weeks ago.

Most Tour-Level Match Wins In 2022

Player  Wins
 Stefanos Tsitsipas 27
 Carlos Alcaraz 26
 Andrey Rublev 25
 Miomir Kecmanovic 23 
 Rafael Nadal 22

An even encounter seemed destined for a deciding tie-break until Tsitsipas produced a high-class return game to break in the ninth game of the third set before serving out for victory. The win improves the 2019 finalist’s record against Top 10 opponents to 26-34, and Tsitsipas will feel he has the momentum to go all the way this week as he chases a maiden title in Madrid.

The Greek is nonetheless refusing to get carried away with his good form. “I had a good result [in Monte Carlo] but that doesn’t really mean anything for me," said Tsitsipas. "Madrid has it’s own challenges. Obviously a different climate, different conditions.

"I’m feeling great, to be honest, and I really hope that I can continue that way, playing so aggressive and being creative on the court.”

His semi-final opponent will be the winner of the last quarter-final on Friday’s schedule, Felix Auger-Aliassime or defending champion Alexander Zverev.

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