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.

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    Nadal saw off Sonego in straight sets and was in complete control for much of the third-round match, only briefly losing his composure when the Centre Court roof was closed following a lengthy plea from the 27th seed.

    When the contest resumed, Nadal – who had not faced a break point until that stage – was broken to love in a game in which he took issue with a noise Sonego made as he approached the ball.

    Nadal appealed to the umpire for some form of discipline immediately after the point and then took the matter into his own hands following the game.

    The Spaniard called over a bemused Sonego and seemed to admonish him, leaving the Italian clearly frustrated and engaging in a prolonged discussion with the umpire.

    Nadal then broke back and quickly wrapped up a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory, before the pair met again at the net.

    The 22-time major champion first attempted to explain his actions to Sonego, then to the umpire and finally to the Centre Court crowd.

    After a highly respectful first answer in his on-court interview – acknowledging his "best match" of the championships so far against "a great player", "the most difficult player I've faced" in this run – Nadal discussed the confrontation.

    It was suggested the encounter had been "spicy", but Nadal interrupted: "Sorry, not spicy at all. From the bottom of my heart, I didn't mean it in a negative way.

    "I feel very sorry if I bothered him – I just wanted to tell him something. I did it in a nice way, and I feel now really bad if I bothered him. I'm sorry for that.

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    That small victory scarcely slowed Nadal, who wrapped up the second on his own serve and then blasted Sonego away in the opening game of the third to break once again.

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    Sonego – 19/17

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