Stefanos Tsitsipas is into the semi-finals of the Madrid Open after a three-set victory over Andrey Rublev.
After going through 6-3 2-6 6-4, the Greek player said: “I’m feeling great to be honest. I really hope it can continue that way. It feels great playing so aggressive and being creative on the court.”
Tsitsipas made a blinding start, taking the first game to love on serve before breaking his opponent at the fifth attempt in the second to take control of the set.
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After the fourth seed raced into a 4-1 lead, Rublev - who arrived in Madrid fresh from beating Novak Djokovic in the final of the Serbia Open - showed his grit and determination to battle back, playing aggressive tennis to stay in touch with Tsitsipas.
However, the Greek player continued his exceptional serving game to take the first set 6-3.
Rublev destroyed British hopes in Madrid after beating Jack Draper and Dan Evans to set up his clash with Tsitsipas, and he regained that previously seen determination in the second set. Maintaining his powerful approach, the sixth seed was the first to break serve to take a 4-2 lead. After a sluggish start, he was pumped up - almost too much after getting involved in a heated argument with the umpire over a challenged decision.
Loose play from Tsitsipas saw him throw away a number of points to give Rublev increased confidence - epitomised by a passing cross-court winner which drew gasps from the crowd, as he levelled the tie at a set apiece.
The third set saw the players go toe-to-toe until Tsitsipas picked his moment to break to love, take a 5-4 lead and give himself the chance to serve his way to the semi-final. Nerves set in, and the 23-year-old slipped to allow two break points to his opponent. However, he saved them both before fighting through to take the win.
Reflecting on the match, Tsitsipas said: “He was really playing a lot of force into the strokes. It wasn’t easy predicting what was going to come next.
“Never easy playing him. Had to really survive that last game, and put my best strength and give out my soul to finish it in such a good way."
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