Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters: Alexander Zverev vs. last year’s winner Stefanos Tsitsipas
After all four singles quarter-finals took place on Friday 15th April, the winners return with renewed vigour for Saturday’s decisive bouts.
The world’s top two quarter-finalists will face off in a spectacular encounter as the 2021 champion Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Alexander Zverev of Germany take to the court. Ahead of this intriguing match, Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina and Grigor Dimitrov will be competing against each other on Rainier III.
The doubles will move to the Monte Carlo Country Club court for the semi-finals. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury will look to maintain their record for the number of sets this week and try to win their first ATP Tour title of the 2022 season.
Main intrigue of the day
Both Zverev and Tsitsipas played thrilling return matches to reach the top four. Zverev was losing by a break and a set against the public favourite Jannik Sinner before leading twice in the final set, needing a tie-break to take a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(5) win. Zverev is reaching his second semi-final of the season and second of his career at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
Zverev is surely looking to add a third ATP Masters 1000 title to his personal haul. The tennis player had previously won tournaments in Madrid and Rome. The Monaco title gives him a chance of moving closer to world number one Novak Djokovic, as well as to have a significant advantage over Daniil Medvedev.
Tsitsipas was two games away from a quarter-final defeat against Diego Schwartzman. Leading 6-2, 5-2, he lost the tie-break 3/7 and was losing 0-4 in the final set before taking the final six games and ending his day of tennis in Monte Carlo in style.
In the ATP Head2Head Series, the world number five holds a 6-3 advantage over Zverev. Tsitsipas had earlier won a five-set semi-final at Roland Garros and Zverev took the tiebreak in the third set at the same stage of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina vs. Grigor Dimitrov
Having reached the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo tournament for the second consecutive year, Davidovich-Fokina broke new ground by beating 10th-ranked Taylor Fritz 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. A quarter-finalist at Roland Garros in 2021, the 22-year-old Spaniard has reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final.
Davidovich-Fokina began his journey at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters by defeating the experienced Novak Djokovic in the second round, a strong start for the Spaniard and giving his opponents something to worry about.
Dimitrov is competing in his eighth ATP Masters 1000 semi-final and is seeking a second title after triumphing in Cincinnati in 2017. The Bulgarian opened the 2022 ATP Tour season by reaching the semi-finals at the ATP 250 tournament in Melbourne and reached the quarter-finals in Indian Wells in March.
After beating No. 15 ranked Nikolozo Basilashvili, No. 4 ranked Kasper Ruud and world No. 11 Hubert Hurkacz, Dimitrov will face a strong opponent in the semi-finals. Like Zverev, the Bulgarian won the tiebreak in the third set and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) win over Hurkacz.
Saturday’s meeting will be the second ATP Head2Head-to-head encounter between the rivals: just under a year ago at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, Davidovich-Fokina defeated his current and then rival, Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 7-6(2).
Dimitrov is the most experienced of the four quarter-finalists. The tennis player is 30 years old, while his potential rival Zverev is just 24.
Saturday’s first match of the day will see British and Indian doubles stars take to the court as world number one Joe Salisbury and his long-time partner Rajiv Ram meet former number one ranked Jamie Murray and Rohan Bopanna. The British-Indian duo are trying their hand at the ATP Tour tournament for the first time. Their rivals Salisbury and Ram (USA) will do their best to win their sixth title.
Joe and Rajeev lost just 12 games in their two matches on their way to the semi-finals. In contrast, Murray and Bopanna won a pair of match tie-breaks and defeated Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers 7-6(8), 7-6(8) in the quarter-finals.
Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, ranked sixth, will meet eighth-placed Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer in the second semi-final of the day, which will conclude the evening’s play in Monaco.