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Zverev wins epic ATP battle in Monte Carlo

Alexander Zverev has survived a first-set blip to break Jannik Sinner’s resilience and reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters with an epic 5-7 6-3 7-6(7-5) victory.

The German second seed struggled to stay focused but eventually tamed his 20-year-old opponent in the deciding tiebreak.

A terrible service game by Sinner gave Zverev a break for 3-1 but the German failed to hold on to the advantage and the Italian broke back before bagging the opening set.

After an early trade of breaks in the second set, Zverev took a medical timeout and was given a pill by the physiotherapist.

It had the desired effect on the German as he appeared to move more freely to claim the set.

The Italian then appeared to be hampered by a thigh strain and Zverev went on to break for 2-1 in the deciding set.

Although Sinner managed to level the set, he produced a woeful double fault to allow Zverev to move 4-3 ahead.

In yet another twist, Sinner broke back for 5-5 and forced a tiebreak but he just could not get over the finishing line, with Zverev sealing victory on his first match point.

Zverev will meet defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals.

Tsitispas overcame Diego Schwartzman 6-2 6-7 (7-3) 6-4.

The fifth-ranked Greek breezed through the first set, but squandered a 5-2 lead in the second.

He had to claw back from 4-0 down in the decider to serve out the match in just under three hours.

“I think I let go,” Tsitsipas said of the missed opportunity to win in straight sets.

“There was a moment in the match where I felt like what I was trying to do out on the court wasn’t really working.

“I wanted to stay as long as possible on court. I loosened up a little bit and focused on shot after shot … that worked out very well.”

Earlier, Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina reached his first Masters semi-final by beating American Taylor Fritz 2-6 6-4 6-3 and will take on Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

– with AP

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