Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to the Italian Open final on Saturday after beating Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in an entertaining final four-fight in Rome. Monte Carlo Masters champion Tsitsipas impressed on a boiling hot center court at the Foro Italico and continued his dominance of two-time ATP Finals winner Zverev to reach his first-ever final in the Italian capital. “The heat hasn’t been easy, it’s been pretty rough here,” Tsitsipas said after the game.
“A lot of history is played on these courses and you are very proud to have come here and not be able to participate in such a historically rich event.”
Saturday’s clash was the third semi-final between the pair in the space of a month after they shared honors in Monte Carlo and Madrid.
Tsitsipas entered the game after winning seven of the pair’s 11 matches and a 3-1 clay-court record against Zverev, fighting back from a set-down for his place in the final and a likely confrontation book with Novak Djokovic.
The game turned at the start of the second set, when Tsitsipas won the first three games – saving two break points in the third – to ensure that he tied the score.
From there, Zverev collapsed and the way he eventually lost the encounter, throwing out his own serve to love with two unforced mistakes, highlighted how Tsitsipas had brought him down.
Top division Djokovic is chasing a sixth title in Rome, for Roland Garros later this month and will meet Casper Ruud later on Saturday.
He secured a record-extending 370th week as the world number one with his two-set win by Felix Auger-Aliassime on Friday night.
Should Djokovic come through, it would be a rematch of his and Tsitsipas’ final at last year’s French Open, a five-set thriller that the Serb eventually won.
Swiatek crushes others
Iga Swiatek reached the women’s final by crushing Aryna Sabalenka in sets 6-2, 6-1, winning one match of a fifth consecutive tournament win.
World number one Swiatek knocked Sabalenka aside in one hour and 16 minutes to claim her 27th win on the bounce, a total last achieved by Serena Williams in 2015.
“I just constantly amaze myself that I can do better and better,” Swiatek told reporters.
“I feel like I can now really believe that the sky is the limit. That’s the nice thing about it.”
Pole Swiatek is the reigning champion in Rome and favorite for the French Open later this month, a fact underlined by the way she handled her opponent.
The world number eight Sabalenka is a two-time Grand Slam winner in doubles and has 10 career singles titles to her name, but the gap seen in the Foro Italico was wider than the rankings suggested.
The Belarusian, who had to take time out for a back massage while trailing 4-1 in the second set, won just two of her service games and couldn’t keep up with Swiatek’s effervescent style.
Swiatek is now waiting for the winner of the other semifinal between Ons Jabeur and unseeded Daria Kasatkina.
Ninth seed Jabeur made history last weekend by winning in Madrid and becoming the first Arab or African player to claim a WTA 1000 title.
The Tunisian is in the last four after an incredible setback in her quarter-final win over Maria Sakkari on Friday.
Down one set and trailing 5-2 in the second, Jabeur played eight games in a row to continue in the game, a lead she never relinquished.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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