Tsitsipas beats Medvedev, will face Zverev in French Open semifinals

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns the ball to Russia's Daniil Medvedev during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Germany's Alexander Zverev shows the mark on the clay as he plays Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Germany's Alexander Zverev reacts as the umpire shows the mark while he plays Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Russia's Daniil Medvedev hides his face as he plays Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, right, plays Russia's Daniil Medvedev on the Philippe Chatrier court during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Germany's Alexander Zverev returns the ball to Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina returns the ball to Germany's Alexander Zverev during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) Thibault Camus

  • Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, right, hugs Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina after winning their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) Christophe Ena

  • Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova gestures after defeating Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina after winning their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) Christophe Ena

  • Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek celebrates as she defeats Spain's Paula Badosa during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) Christophe Ena

  • Spain's Paula Badosa reacts as she plays Slovenia's Tamara Zidansek during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Tuesday, June 8, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) Christophe Ena

Associated Press
Published: 6/8/2021 6:15:36 PM

PARIS — Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev both have been viewed as potential future stars of tennis. Both have come close to Grand Slam titles.

Now the pair of 20-somethings will meet each other for a berth in the French Open final after straight-set quarterfinal victories Tuesday.

The No. 5-seeded Tsitsipas reached his fourth major semifinal — and second in a row at Roland Garros — by upending No. 2 Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (3), 7-5 at Court Philippe Chatrier in the last no-spectator night session of this year’s tournament.

Tsitsipas escaped two set points held by two-time Slam runner-up Medvedev at 5-4 in the second, but otherwise required only slightly more work than was demanded of Zverev in his 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 victory over unseeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

That put No. 6 Zverev in his third Slam semifinal, first in Paris.

Tsitsipas is a 22-year-old from Greece. Zverev is a 24-year-old from Germany. Both have won Masters 1000 titles on red clay this year. Both have won the season-ending ATP Finals. Both intend to — and, truthfully, are expected to — claim one of the four biggest prizes in their sport.

“Look, it’s fairly obvious that all tennis players are playing tennis for the Slams,” said Zverev, the runner-up to good pal Dominic Thiem at last year’s U.S. Open. “Obviously, the Grand Slams are the tournaments that we want to win the most. Before, maybe, the last few years, I was putting too much pressure on myself. ... Before Medvedev and Tsitsipas arrived, I was seen as this guy that was going to all of a sudden take over the tennis world.

“I was putting pressure on myself, as well,” Zverev continued. “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.”

He showed that quality at a key juncture Tuesday.

Zverev did not want to believe that Davidovich Fokina had saved a break point with a shot that landed on — or was it merely near? — a line in the fourth game.

Zverev crouched down near the mark on the red clay and engaged in a bit of an argument with chair umpire Alison Hughes, repeatedly saying, “No!” and then “How?”

Hughes, whose call was backed up by an unofficial video rendering shown on TV, didn’t budge, and Zverev quickly lost that game, then the next one, too, to fall briefly behind. Could have been the start of an unraveling.

Instead, Zverev grabbed 16 of the remaining 19 games.

“I’m maybe a little bit calmer at the tournaments,” he said. “But the end goal hasn’t changed.”

For Tsitsipas, who goes into Friday with an 0-3 mark in Slam semifinals, the key moment came late in the second set.

Medvedev, who suddenly found his footing on clay this year after arriving in Paris with an 0-4 career record at the French Open, sort of snapped to and made things interesting. Indeed, Medvedev made so much headway that he held a pair of set points after Tsitsipas dumped an overhead into the net and was forced to serve at 15-40 while trailing 5-4.

But Medvedev let Tsitsipas out of the predicament with a bad return of a second serve, followed by a flubbed forehand, and soon enough it was 5-all.

Less than 15 minutes later, Tsitsipas hit a swinging forehand volley winner to close out that set and was on his way to his second win in eight career meetings against Medvedev.

While Medvedev briefly led by a break in the third, Tsitsipas pulled even, then broke after being down 40-love in the last game. He closed his victory with a passing shot winner off a return when Medvedev charged the net behind an underarm serve on match point.

The quarterfinals on the top half of the men’s bracket are Wednesday: Novak Djokovic vs. Matteo Berrettini, and 13-time champion Rafael Nadal vs. Diego Schwartzman.

In the women’s quarterfinals Tuesday, No. 31 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia and 85th-ranked Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia each earned her first berth in a major semifinal.

Pavlyuchenkova entered the day with an 0-6 record in Slam quarterfinals but edged her doubles partner Elena Rybakina 6-7 (2), 6-2, 9-7.

“Mentally it was really, really hard this morning,” the 29-year-old Pavlyuchenkova said. “Especially since I needed to play Elena.”

Rybakina eliminated Serena Williams in the fourth round but didn’t play as well against Pavlychenkova.

Zidansek got past No. 33 seed Paula Badosa 7-5, 4-6, 8-6.

“It feels overwhelming,” she said.

Zverev was broken three times in the opening set against Davidovich Fokina, but never faced so much as one break point the rest of the way.

Zverev began this French Open in the worst way possible: He lost the initial two sets he played against qualifier Oscar Otte.

But Zverev hasn’t dropped one since, completing a comeback in five against Otte to start a run that has now stretched to 15 sets in a row.

“After the first round, it kind of started to go very smoothly,” Zverev said. “I’m happy about that.”


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