Stefanos Tsitsipas will not win the Rolex Masters for the third time in a row. His reign in Monte Carlo ended with a defeat to Taylor Fritz. The four semi-finalists of this edition were seeded 5 to 8, because after Djokovic (1), Ruud (4) and Tsitsipas (2) also Medvedev (3) crashed out of the tournament on Friday. On Saturday Fritz (8) will meet Andrej Rublev (5), while Holger Rune (6) and Jannik Sinner (7) will play for the other spot in the final. On Sunday a new name will be written on the winners’ list of the Monte Carlo Open.
Taylor Fritz needed only two sets to beat Tsitsipas and reach the semi-finals: 6-2, 6-4. The Greek champion was unable to find his best level and was beaten in almost 70 minutes. Fritz forced Tsitsipas into 18 unforced errors. “I thought my level today was very high. I think I played a very good match. Beating him here gives me a lot of confidence,” Fritz said after the match. “It has given me the reassurance I need to know I can play well on clay.” Tsitsipas was of course very disappointed: “My serve was not working very well today and against a player like Fritz you have to serve well. I am much better than this. I was not able to show my game today,” the Greek ended his status as defending champion in Monte Carlo after a series of twelve victories on the Monegasque clay.
Fritz, who also defeated former winner Stan Wawrinka this week, will meet Andrej Rublev on Saturday. In 99 minutes the Russian recorded a nice victory over the surprising qualifier Struff earlier in the day. He won the first 6-1 and took the match in the second set by a tiebreak (7-5). “I was able to show a great level through the match, except some moments where I started to show emotions and started to get negative,” Rublev said in his on-court interview with Marc Maury. “In the end it was a dramatic match, especially in the second set. But I was able to calm myself down and play a good tie-break and I was lucky to win in straight sets.”
In the afternoon the Italians in the crowd enjoyed the match of their compatriots Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner. Musetti looked very confident after stunning Djokovic the night before, but Sinner was not really impressed and started well. The man from Südtirol walked away in the first set after breaking through Musetti’s serve three times: 6-2. In the second set, Sinner took the lead with another early break and won the match with another 6-2. It will be the third semi-final for Sinner in this year’s Masters 1000 Tournaments. After the match he said: “It was not easy to play against Lorenzo. I knew that I had to step up, try to take my chances before him. Breaking him early gave me a lot of confidence. Of course I am happy.”
Earlier in the day Holger Rune presented himself as a dangerous outsider by beating Daniil Medvedev in two sets without too much trouble: 6-3, 6-4. The Danish teenager is having a convincing tournament and proves that he is rightly counted by insiders among the best players for the next decade. Rune showed his qualities in a convincing match, which lasted only 78 minutes. “It was my first time playing against him in a real match, but we have practised tonnes of times. It is always tough to play Daniil and I have a huge respect for everything he has done,” Rune said after the match. Rune had beaten Dominic Thiem and had the advantage of not playing yesterday because Berrettini withdrew. Medvedev looked tired after having beaten Alexander Zverev last night in a stunning match. He then survived two match-points in the second set to win the match in the third set with a long tiebreak (9-7): 3-6, 7-5, 7-6. It was a closely fought contest but Medvedev remained the more solid in the closing moments. After the match Zverev denounced his opponent’s ‘unsportsmanlike’ behavior, which led to him being distracted after his forfeited match-points.
The semi-final between Holger Rune and Jannik Sinner can be seen as a precursor to a duel of giants in the coming years. Novak Djokovic rates these two players with Carlos Alcaraz as the top 3 of the future. “It will be a tough match with Jannik, because he is in form as well,” said Rune in the dressing room about his next opponent.