Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas edged out world number one Daniil Medvedev 7-6(6) 3-6 6-3 in an absorbing semi-final at the Cincinnati Open on Saturday.
Tsitsipas has now set up a summit clash with Borna Coric after the Croatian’s 6-3 6-4 win over Cameron Norrie.
Tsitsipas saved a set point in the opening tie-break to take the lead but collapsed in stunning fashion in the second set, falling behind 5-0 before narrowly avoiding a bagel.
But the Greek, who had just two wins in nine matches against Medvedev coming into the encounter, raised his game in the decider and broke the U.S. Open champion at 3-2 before comfortably serving out the match with some exquisite net play.
“I felt like the ball wasn’t really flying off his racquet,” Tsitsipas, who later withdrew from the doubles semi-finals alongside Holger Rune, told reporters.
“I felt like he was trying too hard, and that’s when I knew that I pushed him there, and it was something that I did over many consecutive rallies, a lot of physical effort. I knew that was my opportunity to go and strike.”
Sunday will be Tsitsipas’ first final appearance in Cincinnati and his fifth overall in 2022.
“I’m prepared for it,” said the former Roland Garros finalist. “I know it’s not an easy task playing against him. You know, he’s coming back from an injury, he’s playing great tennis, and he’s going to work very hard for it.”
Coric reached his second ATP Masters 1000 final – and first since undergoing shoulder surgery last year – with a commanding performance against Norrie, who offered little resistance against his opponent’s heavy hitting from the baseline.
British ninth seed Norrie started brightly and raced into a 3-1 lead before Coric found his groove to win five straight games and secure the opening set.
“It was a very tough day, a very long day as well,” said Coric after both men’s semi-finals were delayed due to rain.
“At the beginning I was not there, I was not feeling the ball very well. Then I did find my rhythm. I started to serve better, I started to play much better and I think that was the key to the match.”
Coric, who struck 22 winners in all, kept up the momentum in the second set, clinching eight straight points to take a 4-2 lead before closing out the match to set up a third career meeting with Tsitsipas.(Reuters/NAN)