In a thrilling day at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, the best was saved for last as Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-4 in an epic floodlit duel on Court Rainier III .
In a classic quarter-final game that switched back and forth, Tsitsipas gambled away a 5-2 lead in the second set before triumphing 4-0 in the deciding set after two hours and 45 minutes on Friday.
“There was a moment in the game where I felt like what I was doing wasn’t working,” Tsitsipas said in his on-pitch interview. “He had a tremendous edge and momentum in what he was trying to do. I just tried to stay in the game as much as possible and it worked really well. I wasn’t expecting much with a double breakdown at this point, so I relaxed at that point.”
After saving a break point in his last service game, Tsitsipas brought up the first of his two match points with a majestic drop volleyball that’s a sure shot of the season. Three points later, he celebrated with a look that was part exhaustion and part disbelief after Schwartzman found the net to end a long rally.
Both batted aggressively throughout as they entertained the noisy crowd on Court Rainier III with their quick wit and agility. Tsitsipas looked 4-0 down and looking in the decider after losing nine games out of 10 in the second set, 5-2. However, the world No. 5 then found his rhythm again and hit again with greater width and topspin to triumph.
“It was extremely close,” said Tsitsipas. “I was very close in the second set. That was the moment I had a big chance to finish it but Diego is Diego and I had to be Stefanos in the third set.”
According to Tennis Data Innovation’s Balance of Power, the Greek hit 22% of his shots in the game from offensive positions, compared to Schwartzman’s 14%. Tsitsipas’ ability to get in front paid off throughout the game, but never more so than on his late attack. (Learn more about the balance of power.)
Tsitsipas is now two wins away from retaining his title in Monte Carlo after claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 crown at the event last year. The world No. 5 ruthlessly defeated 2019 champion Fabio Fognini and Serbian Laslo Djere in his first two games and will appear in his ninth semi-final at this level on Saturday.
With his win, the 23-year-old leveled his ATP Head2Head streak with Schwartzman to 2-2 and will next play Alexander Zverev after the German defeated Jannik Sinner 5-7 6-3 7-6 (5). Has.
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Tsitsipas is looking to win his first title since taking the crown in Lyon last May. His best result of the season came in Rotterdam, where he advanced to the final before losing to Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.
The third seed got off to a quick start, racing 5-0 up when he scored on the return and made heavy cuts on the ball to pin Schwartzman deep behind the baseline. Tsitsipas dictated the backhand changes as he caused problems for the Argentines with his strong topspin.
After taking the lead, Tsitsipas continued to play with high intensity as he scored the crucial break in game four to gain further control. However, from 2-5, Schwartzman fought back to 5-5 as Tsitsipas’ level dropped under pressure. The world No. 16 saw his chance and played a clean tiebreak to level the match.
Schwartzman then went 4-0 up in the deciding set but Tsitsipas wouldn’t be denied and stormed back as he regained his focus and top level to triumph in one of the season’s games.
Earlier Friday, Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina eliminated Taylor Fritz in three sets while Grigor Dimitrov defeated Hubert Hurkacz in another match that went the distance.
Schwartzman was looking to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal after reaching the last four on clay in Rome in 2019 and 2020.