Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a scare to make it through to the last 16 of the Italian Open after an engrossing three-set win over Grigor Dimitrov.
Going into the match, Tsitsipas held the wood over Dimitrov having defeated the Bulgarian in the last month in both Barcelona and Madrid.
Those matches were more straightforward than this encounter at the Foro Italico though, with Dimitrov seeing two match points go astray at 5-4 up in the third.
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And as the pair went into their final-set tie-break, Tsitsipas once again came up with the goods when he needed to and booked his place in the last 16, where he will meet Karen Khachanov.
"It's like playing in the Colosseum," Tsitsipas said afterwards.
"There's so much energy coming from the crowd. The people that came and watched the match were so into it, more than us I think.
"And it gave for a great atmosphere and a great gladiator environment on the court."
Dimitrov has been resurgent this season with a run to the quarter-finals in Indian Wells and a semi-final appearance in Monte-Carlo.
But he had struggled to find a way to overcome Tsitsipas this term, and the Greek appeared keen to keep his spotless 2022 head-to-head record against Dimitrov intact early on, racing into a 3-0 lead that ultimately set the tone for the first set, Tsitsipas taking it 6-3.
Tsitsipas - having broken in the seventh game of the second set - then looked like he was going to sprint to a third consecutive straight-sets triumph over Dimitrov, but the Bulgarian broke back at 4-5 down before breaking again at 6-5 to level things up at one set all.
That set up a decider, and it was nip and tuck all the way as the pair ended up at a tie-break. Unfortunately for Dimitrov he went off the boil at just the wrong moment, losing the first five points.
He clawed it back to 6-4 but Tsitsipas got over the line, throwing his arms aloft after sealing victory in 2h37.
There was a shock over on Pietrangeli on Wednesday, as Marcos Giron beat 2020 finalist Diego Schwartzman 6-1 7-6 to progress.
Elsewhere Alex de Minaur beat Tommy Paul, Alexander Zverev saw off Sebastian Baez and Khachanov defeated 15th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.
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26/06/2022 AT 09:05
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