Tsitsipas reaches Italian Open final with comeback win over Zverev
ROME – World number five Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the Italian Open final for the first time after the Greek rallied to defeat Alexander Zverev 4-6 6-3 6-3 on Saturday.
Tsitsipas, who will rise to fourth in the new ATP rankings next week, will need to beat either top-ranked Novak Djokovic or Norwegian fifth seed Casper Ruud to claim his third Masters 1000 title. In the third claycourt Masters 1000 semi-final between the pair this season, Tsitsipas overcame Zverev as he stayed consistent from the baseline and strong on serve throughout.
Zverev was clinical in the opening set with his first serve working like clockwork, but the German dropped a set for the first time in this year’s tournament as Tsitsipas raised his own level in the second set. Tsitsipas struck first in the decider, earning a break to lead 3-2 when Zverev sent a forehand into the net.
Tsitsipas broke the Zverev serve again to eventually claim a comfortable victory as the German’s game went off the boil. He now has a Tour-leading 31 match wins this year and leads his head-to-head against Zverev 8-4. Defeat meant Zverev is yet to win a title this season.
SWIATEK CRUSHES SABALENKA TO REACH ITALIAN OPEN FINAL
World number one Iga Swiatek swept aside third-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-1 in a lopsided contest in Rome on Saturday to advance to the Italian Open final, where she will meet either Ons Jabeur or Daria Kasatkina.
Reigning champion Swiatek extended her winning streak to 27 matches, overpowering Sabalenka in just over an hour to reach her fifth straight WTA final. The 20-year-old improved her overall head-to-head record with Sabalenka to 3-1, having also won both of their meetings earlier this year – the Stuttgart final and Doha quarter-finals – in straight sets.
Swiatek broke Sabalenka twice in the opening set to build a 3-1 lead before closing it out in around 30 minutes. She continued to apply the pressure in the second set, racing to a 4-0 lead. World number eight Sabalenka, who won only two of her service games, received a medical timeout at 4-1 down, but the Pole shrugged off the disruption to wrap up the win soon after.
Sabalenka finished with 31 unforced errors, twice as many as Swiatek who hit 15 winners en route to victory and matched the tally of 27 straight wins set by Serena Williams in 2015. Madrid Open winner Jabeur and Russia’s Kasatkina play their semi-final later on Saturday.