Berliner Tageblatt - Sinner sets up Monte Carlo semi with two-time winner Tsitsipas

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Sinner sets up Monte Carlo semi with two-time winner Tsitsipas
Sinner sets up Monte Carlo semi with two-time winner Tsitsipas / Photo: © AFP

Sinner sets up Monte Carlo semi with two-time winner Tsitsipas

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas kept alive his hopes of a third Monte Carlo Masters title on Friday as he breezed into the semi-finals dismissing Russia's Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-2.

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Tsitsipas, winner of the French Open warm-up in 2021 and 2022, needed just 81 minutes to record his eighth win in nine meetings with an out of sorts Khachanov.

The 25-year-old Greek will meet Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner in the semi-finals.

The Italian avenged defeat in last year's semi-finals by beating moody Dane Holger Rune 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3.

Tsitsipas was delighted with his performance.

"I was very effective from the start, I had a lot of pace and gained momentum," said Tsitsipas.

"I tried to do my part and press and it worked out really well."

Khachanov had cheekily said to the umpire prior to the match "Are you going to stay focussed?" to which the official replied "Always, of course."

It was Khachanov who should have asked himself the question as he rarely seemed to be and was way off the form he had shown in Thursday's defeat of compatriot Daniil Medvedev.

The opening exchanges were messy from both players with three successive breaks of serve -- Tsitsipas breaking the run to open up a 3-1 lead.

Khachanov finally won a service game of his own -- to make it 3-2 -- displaying a fine mix of power hitting, delicate touch and agility.

However, he required medical attention at the change over at 5-4 down, but returned to the fray only for Tsitsipas to serve out the set.

- 'Bit of chaos' -

Khachanov, who seemed to be troubled by a pain in an upper quad, came under pressure on his serve at 1-1 in the second set -- but he saved a break point and then held.

However, it was a very unhappy Khachanov who returned to his chair at the next change over as a series of errors gave his Greek rival the break at 3-2.

The 27-year-old Russian flung his racket angrily to the ground as he took his seat.

Tsitsipas did not ease up winning 11 points in a row to surge to a 5-2 lead and served out easily for a place in the last eight.

He admitted the tournament brought out the best in him though it is yet to lead to him winning the big one on clay, The French Open.

"I would lie if I said it did not bring out the best in me," he said grinning.

"There are many good memories and stepping out here and coming back here it revives those good memories.

"It brings me alive."

In contrast to Tsitsipas's easy ride, Sinner had a marathon battle in overcoming Rune in 2 hours 40 minutes to record his 25th win in 26 matches this year.

Rune revelling in his bad boy reputation riled the crowd and the umpire in the second set making a gesture at the spectators when they booed him.

He was given a second warning by the umpire whereupon Rune sat down in his seat and demanded the supervisor.

He resumed playing and showed his brilliance in storming back from 6-4 down in the tie-break to win it 8-6.

However, Sinner also showed his resilience in winning three successive games from 3-3 to secure his place in the last four.

"It is never easy to play Holger so I am happy to have won, but above all to be able to raise my level of game a little," said Sinner.

"This match was a very physical one, lots of long rallies."

As for Rune's behaviour Sinner said he had been warned after similar rumblings in the 2023 semi-finals.

"One can try and create a little bit of chaos," said Sinner.

"That is no problem. I learned from last year.

"That is all part of the learning process. If I had lost today, I would have learned more lessons."