ATP

Tsitsipas threepeat hopes scuppered by Herbert in Marseille

By Sports Desk March 12, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas saw his hopes of a hat-trick of titles at the Open 13 Provence ended by a shock quarter-final defeat on Friday.

The second seed was upset by French world number 93 Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as the doubles expert scored a 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-2 win.

Herbert had won only one singles match on tour in 2021 before this week, but Kei Nishikori and Cameron Norrie fell to the 29-year-old in the early rounds before he stunned world number five Tsitsipas.

It was a first career win in singles over a player ranked in the world's top five for Herbert, and he said: "It has been an incredible week for me so far, especially this match."

Quoted on the ATP website, Herbert added: "I knew I was going to have to play an amazing match to have a chance to win and I managed to do that. I am really happy about the way I played. I am so happy to be in the semi-finals here."

A French finalist is guaranteed as Herbert will face compatriot Ugo Humbert in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Humbert beat another Frenchman, world number 138 Arthur Rinderknech, in a tight contest, saving a match point and coming through 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) in two hours and 36 minutes.

Russian top seed Daniil Medvedev chased off the threat of Jannik Sinner at this indoor event for the second year running, securing a 6-2 6-4 success against the Italian teenager.

Their only two career meetings have come in Marseille, and Medvedev bossed this encounter, taking three of his five break chances and holding serve throughout.

He will face Australian Matthew Ebden in the final four after the world number 287 earned an eye-catching 4-6 6-4 6-2 win over Russian third seed Karen Khachanov, who was champion in 2018 in Marseille.

At the Qatar Open, Nikoloz Basilashvili backed up his three-set win over Roger Federer by reaching the final of the tournament.

The Georgian scored a 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 semi-final victory over American Taylor Fritz in a clash of two unseeded players.

Basilashvili will tackle Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut for the title on Saturday after the fifth seed ousted Russian third seed Andrey Rublev.

A 6-3 6-3 win for Bautista Agut nudged the man from Castellon de la Plana into a 3-2 career head-to-head lead over his Muscovite opponent.

Related items

  • Barty sets up Gauff showdown in Rome as Swiatek survives scare Barty sets up Gauff showdown in Rome as Swiatek survives scare

    Ash Barty will meet Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia after an impressive defeat of Veronika Kudermetova.

    The world number one claimed her 27th Tour-level win of this year, seeing off Kudermetova 6-3 6-3 in 81 minutes to reach the last eight in Rome for the first time.

    Barty admitted it took some time to get used to the "wow factor" of centre court in the Italian capital, but she rarely looked under threat as she moved to 13-2 on clay in 2021.

    The Australian would have faced Aryna Sabalenka for the third tournament in a row had it not been for a sterling performance from Gauff, who won 7-5 6-3 to secure a fourth quarter-final this year.

    "Coco has shown that she loves to bring her best tennis against the players that challenge her the most," said Barty, who has never played against the American teenager. "She's played an exceptional tournament thus far. She's got the ability to take the game on. She's aggressive, she can run, she can trust her legs.

    "I think it's going to be important for me to try to get the match back on my terms as often as possible. I know when they're in her patterns, the way she likes to play, she's extremely dangerous and very good at what she does. I think it's going to be a new challenge, a clean slate for both of us."

    Matters were more difficult for reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek, who saved two match points before beating Barbora Krejcikova 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 in a contest lasting nearly three hours.

    Powerful serving from Krejcikova and some errant shots from Swiatek gifted the Czech the chance to serve out a straight-sets win, but Swiatek held firm before taking the tie-break.

    Swiatek persisted with a drop shot that seemed to cause difficulties for her and her opponent before Krejcikova's aim went awry at the end of the decider.

    "I had fun when I played drop shots because today I felt them really good," said Swiatek, who will now face fifth seed Elina Svitolina after her 6-4 6-2 beating of Garbine Muguruza.

    "I asked myself a question, what would annoy me in that situation? So, I tried to do that. So, yeah, sometimes it didn't look pretty, but I'm happy that I could do that. One year ago I wouldn't even come up with a solution like that. That's a progress."

    Jessica Pegula followed up her shock win over Naomi Osaka by defeating Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets. She will now face Petra Martic, who came from a set down to defeat world number 44 Nadia Podoroska – conqueror of Serena Williams on Wednesday.

    Ninth seed Karolina Pliskova, who beat Vera Zvonareva 7-5 6-3, will face Jelena Ostapenko following her three-set defeat of Angelique Kerber.

  • Serena Williams to play in Parma following early Rome exit Serena Williams to play in Parma following early Rome exit

    Serena Williams will play in the Emilia-Romagna Open next week following her early exit in Rome, Patrick Mouratoglou has confirmed.

    The legendary American was beaten 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 by Nadia Podoroska in the 1,000th match of her incredible career at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Wednesday.

    Williams, who was given a bye into the second round at Foro Italico, was playing her first match since losing to Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals of the Australia Open three months ago.

    With the French Open getting under way on May 30, Williams has taken a wildcard to get more time on clay under her belt in Parma.

    Mouratoglou, the former world number one's coach, tweeted: "Change of plans: Serena hasn't been competing for a while, and we want to get as many matches under our belt as possible before Roland-Garros - so we're adding the Emilia-Romagna Open to our schedule.

    "We'll be back in action next week."

    Williams will head to Paris for the second major of the year in her latest attempt at matching Margaret Court's record tally of 24 grand slam singles titles.

  • Imperious Djokovic powers into quarter-finals in Rome Imperious Djokovic powers into quarter-finals in Rome

    Novak Djokovic cruised into the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia with a straight-sets demolition of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on Thursday.

    The world number one took just an hour and 10 minutes to wrap up an emphatic 6-2 6-1 victory at the Foro Italico.

    Davidovich Fokina broke the top seed's serve in the first game of the match, but that proved to be a false dawn for the Spanish qualifier.

    Djokovic put the 21-year-old under huge pressure with another returning masterclass, breaking back immediately and on two more occasions to seal the first set.

    The 18-time grand slam champion was relentless in the second set, forcing Davidovich Fokina's unforced error count up to 30 as he breezed into the last eight.

    Djokovic, who has reached at least the quarter-final stage in each of his 15 appearances at the prestigious tournament in Rome, was waiting to learn whether he would face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Matteo Berrettini for a place in the semi-finals.

    The Serbian said: "I thought I played well. He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court.

    "I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

    "He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward.

    "I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against [Taylor] Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.