French Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas sends No. 2 Daniil Medvedev packing, books semis berth
Fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat world number two Daniil Medvedev in straight sets on Tuesday (June 8) to advance to the French Open semi-finals for the second straight year and end the Russian’s surprise run on the Parisian clay. The Greek got revenge for his Australian Open semi-final loss to the Russian this year and improved his Grand Slam quarter-final record to 4-0 with a 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5 win that teed up a last-four clash against Germany’s Alexander Zverev.
“It was a very close match and we both served pretty well,” Tsitsipas said. “It was intense. I was playing against one of the best guys on the tour. I had to keep up the intensity and elevate my game throughout the entire match. I am happy to keep repeating, trying to go further.”
Medvedev, who squandered two set points in the second set and only converted two of his eight break points, had not won a single match at the French Open prior to his run to the last eight this year.
Yet having finally found his feet on the red dirt, he had few chances against the 22-year-old Tsitsipas, who has had a superb clay season so far. Tsitsipas, a winner in Lyon and Monte Carlo on clay this year, wrongfooted the Russian to convert his first break point for 3-1 lead as he comfortably held serve in the first set.
Medvedev, who made 44 unforced errors in the match, almost twice as many as the Greek, saved a Tsitsipas set point at 5-2 but the fifth seed wrapped it up a game later with a volley.
Tsitsipas then won 11 straight points to break the Russian again early in the second set and cruise to a 3-1 lead. Yet his opponent launched a comeback, bagging his own first break en route to a three-game run.
Medvedev improved his first-serve percentage and even carved out two set points but his opponent saved them to hold and force a tiebreak. Tsitsipas survived his second set wobble to clinch it with a volley on his first set point.
Alexander Zverev enters last four in Paris for first time
Alexander Zverev settled some early nerves before beating Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 on Tuesday to reach the French Open semi-finals for the first time. After his frustration wore off following an early argument with chair umpire Alison Hughes over a line call, Zverev clicked into gear while an increasingly despondent Fokina wavered.
Sixth seed Zverev, the first German to reach the last four at Roland Garros since Michael Stich in 1996, was simply too good for the world No. 46, who managed to hold serve only three times in his first appearance on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Zverev, who will face either Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, believes he is slowly coming of age, having reached the last four of a Grand Slam for the third time in his last five majors.
“Before, maybe the last few years, I was putting too much pressure on myself. Also obviously in the media I was seen, before Medvedev and Tsitsipas arrived, as this guy that was going to all of a sudden take over the tennis world,” the 24-year-old told a news conference.
“I was putting pressure on myself as well. I was not very patient with myself, which I feel like now maybe I learned how to deal with the situation a little bit better, I’m maybe a little bit calmer at the tournaments.”
Zverev came back from two sets down in his first-round match, but since then the German has been steamrollering his opponents and is hungry for more. “Obviously it’s very nice to be in the semi-finals but that doesn’t satisfy me. I’ve been playing better and better and now we’ll see what happens next,” he said.
Having been knocked out in the quarter-finals twice before, by Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic, Zverev stood a better chance against the lower-ranked Fokina. The Spaniard signalled his intentions by breaking in the first game, moving his opponent around and mixing it with drop shots.
Zverev broke straight back but looked out of sorts when the chair umpire corrected a line call, denying him another break. However, Fokina struggled with his service games as Zverev’s confidence grew.
Zverev hit winner after winner, while his 21-year-old opponent failed to keep the ball on court, and raced to a routine win as he claimed his 15th consecutive set in Paris.