For the first time in the Open Era, all four Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinal matches went the distance, and two went to a final breaker.
Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas has arguably the most straightforward day dispatching Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-4.
The Greek had a chance to close it out in straights, then fell behind 4-0 in the third in a blink before mounting a rally under the lights.
“There was a moment in the match where I felt what I was doing wasn’t working,” Tsitsipas told the crowd. “He had a massive lead and momentum in what he was trying to do. I just tried to stay in the match as much as I could and that worked out very well. I wasn’t expecting much at that point being a double break down, so I relaxed at that point.”
Tsitsipas led 5-2 in the second before coming unglued, dropping nine of the next 10 games. Schwartzman came up just short of his first Masters semifinal outside of Rome.
“It was extremely close,” Tsitsipas added. “I was really close in the second set. That was the moment I had a big chance to close it out but Diego is Diego and I had to be Stefanos in the third set.”
Tsitsipas will now meet Alexander Zverev in the semifinals on Saturday. Zverev failed to serve out the third against Jannik Sinner, but eventually held off the nerves to win it in a breaker 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(5).
“It means a lot, definitely, especially how this year has been going so far for me,” said Zverev. “I’ve lost long matches like that, so I’m happy I won this one.”
Zverev had lost his last three deciding set breakers.
“I’ve lost so many matches this year,” he said. “I guess it’s in the back of my mind and I think this one will definitely help.”
In their 10th meeting, Tsitsipas leads Zverev 6-3.
Grigor Dimitrov returned to a clay Masters semifinal for the first time since his 2018 Monte Carlo run when he lost to Rafael Nadal in the last four. Dimitrov, who made the Indian Wells semifinal last fall, was barely over .500 this year at 7-6, but posted wins over former finalist Dusan Lajovic and today Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2).
“I am just going one day at a time,” the Bulgarian said on court. “I’ve put in the work, that’s all I’ve done. I’m not even thinking of how I’m playing or anything like that, I just want to [do] a lot of work.
“The season on clay is not that long so you just want to keep on building, and that’s all I’m doing right now. Of course, if I would have lost that match it would have been disappointing, but at the same time I wouldn’t be too down on myself because I’ve been doing the right things.”
Up next will be the Alejandro Davidovich Fokina who continues to backup his Novak Djokovic stunner. The 22-year-old from Spain advanced to his first Masters semifinal by coming from a set down to defeat Taylor Fritz 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
“I am so, so happy,” Davidovich Fokina told the crowd. “Last year I reached the quarterfinals. The emotions to be in the semifinals are so high. I am enjoying every point. In the first set I had a lot of chances to break but I didn’t do it. But I just stayed focused and believed in myself.”
Davidovich Fokina was just 1-12 lifetime against Top 10s. But after Djokovic, both wins have come in Monte Carlo (Berrettini last year).
“When you beat the World No. 1 it gives you a lot of confidence physically, mentally and technically,” Davidovich Fokina said. “I am pushing myself every match to play harder and harder.”
Davidovich leads Dimitrov 1-0 winning in Rome last year when he serve eight double faults but still came out on top in straight sets. And his seven career wins in Monte Carlo are the most he has at any single event.
SATURDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT RAINIER III start 11:30 a.m.
 R. Ram (USA / J. Salisbury (GBR) vs. R. Bopanna (IND) / J. Murray (GBR)
Not before 1:30 p.m.
A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP) vs. G. Dimitrov (BUL)
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