Two of the top players of 2021 will collide in the semifinals Saturday in Rotterdam. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev will butt heads for a sixth time in their young rivalry after each won tough 3-set quarterfinals.
The World No. 6 Tsitsipas needed over 2 hours, 45 minutes to put away Karen Khachanov in a grueling 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 which saw the Greek fight from 3-1 down in the third to win six of the final eight games.
“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.”
Tsitsipas is 9-1 on the year. The last five matches for Tsitsipas have ended with 7-5 in the last set.
Rublev had his hands full with qualifier Jeremy Chardy going the distance for a 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 6-4 victory.
“It was a really tough match against Jeremy,” Rublev said. “He is shooting really hard, he is serving really hard… [In the first-set tie-break], I played a bit better than him. He made a couple of mistakes. In the second [set], I didn’t start really well… I managed somehow to come back and then I didn’t make it when I had the chances. I had match points.
“We went to a third set and then I started really well. He played one really good game. I got a bit tight and… to serve for the match is not always easy. There was drama at the end. He had one break point but, in the end, I managed to win so I am really happy.”
Rublev improves to 11-1 this year ahead of the big match against the Greek.
In the other semifinal. Borna Coric battled past Kei Nishikori 7-6(2), 7-6(4). He’ll now face Marton Fucsovics who blew past Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-3.
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