The world’s top two tennis players could be in the final of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Open on Sunday, April 14. Jannik Sinner and Novak Djokovic qualified for the semi-finals on another sunny day on Court Rainier III. Sinner defeated his contemporary Holger Rune, who had kept him out of the final of this tournament last year.

There was no question of revenge, according to the Italian, who has managed to reach the semi-finals of the four biggest tournaments so far in this calendar year (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Monaco) and in-between he also won the tournament of Rotterdam. Sinner already won 25 matches in 2024 and only lost once (the Indian Wells final against Alcaraz).

In any case, with the victory over Rune, the Italian does not lose any points for the ATP rankings compared to last year. Sinner defeated Rune in three sets (6-4, 6-7, 6-3). He made it even more difficult for himself by failing to convert two match points in the second set, at 6-4 in the tiebreak, so he eventually lost that set by 8-6, and a third set had to be played. Shortly before (at 5-5), Rune had received a point penalty to challenge the crowd with a gesture.

He then refused to resume the match, but after an intervention by an assistant, he stepped back onto the court and went on to win the game, and later the set. In the third set, Sinner had the most energy, and made the difference in the last three games by winning twelve of the last fifteen points.

Afterwards, Sinner was satisfied with this victory; “Playing against Rune is never easy, especially on this kind of occasion, so I am very happy I won today, but mostly about the level I gave. It was more physical and there were more rallies today. My general feelings are better, so I am very excited about tomorrow’s match.”

The Italian will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday, who had little trouble beating Karen Khachanov in straight sets. The 25-year-old Greek, who won this tournament back to back in 2021 and 2022, needed 83 minutes to win this match (6-4, 6-2). After poor performances in recent months, this tournament comes at just the right time for him. On Thursday, he already surprised by beating Zverev.

“I would lie if I said it doesn’t bring good memories stepping out on this court. I come back here and I sort of relive those memories of the past. It gives good feelings to me when I am able to play in front of crowds like this and be able to try and strive for excellence with my game,” the Greek said after the match.

Novak Djokovic has reached the semi-finals for the first time since his last win at this tournament in 2015. The leader of the ATP rankings, since Wednesday even the eldest of all time, did not play an excellent match but still proved strong enough to shake off Australian Alex de Minaur in two sets (7-5, 6-4) in just over two hours.

The match cost Djokovic a lot of energy, but in the end his opponent made the fatal mistakes at decisive moments. Djokovic won the first set with the first break. In the second set, the Australian was unable to repair the damage. Like Tsitsipas, Djokovic has already won this tournament twice, but that was a long time ago, in 2013 and 2015.

The Serb was delighted afterwards that he can play a semi-final again on Court Rainier III after nine years; “I am very happy to be back in the semis. It has been a while. I love this tournament, I love this club very much. I have been training at this club for many years. The past seven, eight years has been tough for me to win three matches consecutively but here we are for another semis.” It will be his 77th ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, a new record.

Djokovic will face Casper Ruud in the semifinals. The Norwegian defeated Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the last match under floodlights in a match that lasted more than two hours in three sets (6-3, 4-6, 6-1). With that, the eighth-seeded Ruud has taken full advantage of the absence of Carlos Alcaraz and can still make it difficult for Djokovic on Saturday, April 13.

Featured image courtesy of REUTERS/Denis Balibouse: Italy’s Jannik Sinner in action during his quarter final match against Denmark’s Holger Rune