ATP Tour

Tsitsipas sees off Sinner to reach Rome semis after match point drama

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Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas (AFP)
Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas (AFP)
Josep LAGO / AFP

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals of the Italian Open on Friday after beating local hero Jannick Sinner 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 in a match which was stopped for over 10 minutes at match point after a spectator fell ill.

World number five Tsitsipas has already won the Monte Carlo Masters this season and reached the last four in impressive style against Italian Sinner, who was in his first ever Rome quarter-final.

Next up Tsitsipas will face Alexander Zverev, who made the semis after comfortably seeing off Cristian Garin, the only unseeded player left in the tournament, 7-5, 6-2.

It will be the third time in the space of a month that the German will meet the Greek in the last four, with the pair sharing the honours from clashes in Monte Carlo and Madrid.

Sinner fired up an enthusiastic centre court crowd on a hot day in the Italian capital after battling back from three games down to level the first set at 3-3, and from there the pair bumped heads.

The first set lasted nearly an hour and a half as both players shared the serve and Sinner landed a series of delicate drop shots which confounded Tsitsipas.

However the Greek finally took the opening set after breaking Sinner to take the tie-break to 6-5 and from their his opponent didn't recover.

The fervent atmosphere was finally dampened when Tsitsipas broke Sinner in game three and world number 13 Sinner had no reply, losing his serve again to love in game seven.

Sinner's fate seem sealed but at match point for Tsitsipas someone in the crowd appeared to collapse and play was stopped amid loud whistles directed at the umpire who wanted to continue.

What seemed like an age passed before the spectator was stretchered out of centre court and Tsitsipas could finally serve his match point, and a simple passing shot from Sinner's miscalculated drop shot sent him through.

Sabalenka wins

Tsitsipas will take number four spot in the world rankings on Monday after Rafael Nadal's shock third-round exit at the hands of Denis Shapovalov on Thursday night.

Shapovalov faces Casper Ruud knowing a win would give him a possible semi-final against Novak Djokovic, who is in action in the day's final match against Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Djkokovic needs to beat Canada's Auger-Aliassime in order to maintain top spot in the world rankings, a position he has held for a record 369 weeks.

Aryna Sabalenka reached the women's semi-finals after beating Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and setting up a potential clash with world number one Iga Swiatek.

Third seed Sabalenka beat American Anisimova for the first time in five attempts and now awaits the result of Swiatek's last-eight match with Bianca Andreescu.

Anisimova had ended Sabalenka's Madrid title defence in the first round at the end of last month.

Swiatek, the reigning champion in Rome, is on a run of 25 straight wins and gunning for a fifth tournament victory in a row.

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