Stefanos Tsitsipas has improved his head-to-head record to 8-4 against Alexander Zverev after coming from behind to beat the world No. 3 4-6 6-3 6-3 to reach the Italian Open final.
Tsitsipas' 31st win of the season will see him play either five-time Rome champion Novak Djokovic or Norwegian fifth seed Casper Ruud in Sunday's final after a hard-fought win in two hours and 27 minutes.
“He wasn’t giving me much, he made me work hard for every single point," Tsitsipas said after the match as he bids to win the third Masters title of his career.
'I was quite depressed at times' - Zverev discusses battle with mental health
"I’m extremely proud of the way things turned around, and I was able to read the gameplay a little bit better and understand what was working at that time.
“It’s one of those tournaments that I think has the most history in sport.
"As you can see looking around the sides, one of the most beautiful stadiums. There’s a lot of history playing on these courts and you feel very proud that you made your way here and are able to participate in such a historically rich event."
Zverev knocked Tsitsipas out of the Madrid Open last week in three sets and it was another expectedly close encounter, in their third clay-court Masters semi-final meeting this season, in front of a boisterous crowd in sweltering conditions on Centre Court.
The first break point of the match arrived in the seventh game and it went the way of Zverev.
The German, who was hitting more winners, was helped greatly by the net cord as it threw Tsitsipas off rhythm and forced the world No.3 to fire wide. Zverev held his remaining service games to get off to a good start.
Tsitsipas responded brightly in the second set and quickly raced into a 3-0 lead.
Tsitsipas was gifted the break by Zverev double faulting on his serve on break point. It was the only break of the second set as Tsitsipas improved on his groundstrokes to force a decider.
A limp forehand from Zverev in the fifth game put Tsitsipas a break in front. And the 23-year-old, leading 5-3, sealed the match on Zverev's serve when the Olympic gold medallist whipped a cross-court backhand wide at the net.
- - -
Stream the 2022 French Open live and on-demand on discovery+
'I don't get that' - McEnroe baffled by Zverev tactics in French Open match
'I was planning my holiday' - Zverev overcomes Baez match point to win five-set epic