MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – A dramatic day of quarter-final action sees a first major clash between Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas of this clay-court season on semi-final day at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
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Alexander Zverev  v Stefanos Tsitsipas  H2H & Match Fundamentals
A thrilling win for Alexander Zverev over Jannik Sinner in a last set tiebreak showed the German’s grit, determination and ability to deal with adversity which is something that will set him well for the rest of the clay season. Despite Zverev’s powerful attacking weapons, it’s the German’s defensive stubbornness that saw him fumble over the finish line to seal a spot in the final four.
After the match Zverev told the ATP website that it was nice to win a match like that after losing so many tight matches, “It means a lot, definitely, especially [with] how this year has been going so far for me,” Zverev added. “I’ve lost long matches like that, so I’m happy I won this one. I’ve lost so many matches [like that] this year. I guess it’s in the back of my mind and I think this one will definitely help.”
Next for Zverev is old nemesis Stefanos Tsitsipas who had to battle past Diego Schwartzman in a tight three setter. The defending champion also showed his resilience coming back from 4-0 down in the final set to defeat the stubborn Argentinian. It may not have been pretty tennis this week but Tsitsipas has still proven to be tough to beat on clay.
After the match Tsitsipas told the ATP website that he relaxed at 4-0 down which helped him play his best tennis, “There was a moment in the match where I felt what I was doing wasn’t working,” Tsitsipas admitted. “He had a massive lead and momentum in what he was trying to do. I just tried to stay in the match as much as I could and that worked out very well. I wasn’t expecting much at that point being a double break down, so I relaxed at that point.”
Both players will need to up their game in this clash but Tsitsipas has had the edge in their previous meetings and should have the edge here. Zverev will need to be more aggressive in this contest because in this match Tsitsipas will win the more defensive and patient rallies. Consistency will be key whoever is to make the final.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has had the best week of his career with his latest win over Taylor Fritz sealing his place in a first masters 1000 semi-final of his career. Most players would have fell away after having the win of his career over world number one Novak Djokovic but that’s not Davidovich Fokina’s style as he continues to play athletic tennis.
In his interview with the ATP website the Spaniard admitted that his win over Djokovic has given him confidence, “When you beat the World No. 1 it gives you a lot of confidence physically, mentally and technically,” he said. “I am pushing myself every match to play harder and harder. Last year I reached the quarter-finals. The emotions to be in the semi-finals are so high. I am enjoying every point. In the first set I had a lot of chances to break but I didn’t do it. But I just stayed focused and believed in myself.”
Waiting for Davidovich Fokina in the semi-finals is the unlikely Prescence of Grigor Dimitrov who is not used to this kind of success on clay. The Bulgarian backed up his win over Casper Ruud with a last set tiebreak win over Hubert Hurkacz to reach the last four. It’s a week that has proven that when Dimitrov is on his game he can be a problem for any player no matter the surface.
Speaking to the ATP website Dimitrov is looking to keep putting the work in over this clay court season, “I am just going one day at a time,” Dimitrov said. “I’ve put in the work — that’s all I’ve done. I’m not even thinking of how I’m playing or anything like that, I just want to [do] a lot of work. The season on clay is not that long so you just want to keep on building, and that’s all I’m doing right now. Of course, if I would have lost that match it would have been disappointing, but at the same time I wouldn’t be too down on myself because I’ve been doing the right things.”
This match will be a battle of physical and mental resilience with both players showing their resolve this week. Dimitrov’s aggressive brand of tennis makes him the slight favourite but with Davidovich Fokina’s confidence high at the moment there could be another upset on the cards in the favour of the Spaniard.
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