Toronto: Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match points to beat defending champion Alexander Zverev in their quarterfinal contest 3-6, 7-6(13-11), 6-4 at the Toronto Masters tennis tournament here Friday.
The Greek teenager, who turns 20 Sunday, defeated his third straight top 10 opponent at the tournament after knocking out Dominic Thiem in the second round and 13-time Major winner Novak Djokovic in the third. He is the youngest player to post three top 10 wins at a single tournament since the 19-year-old Rafa Nadal did Monte Carlo in 2006.
Nadal meanwhile recovered from a slow start, to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 as the Spaniard’s chase for a long-sought ATP Masters title on hard court heated up. He will next face Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat Robin Haase 6-3, 6-1, for a place in the finals.
“It was a very important match for me,” Nadal said. “Being in semifinals is great news at the start of the hard court season. He (Cilic) played unstoppable in the first set. I resisted, I played with the right tactic. I tried to find my solutions – but it was so difficult.”
Nadal got caught on the back foot in the first set against Cilic, who took the opener on his fourth chance.
Nadal struck back in the second with a concluding break to square the match before taking victory with a break in the final game on his third match point after more than two hours.
Tsitsipas meanwhile will take on Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2.
“I’m confused now, is this real?” 27th-ranked Tsitsipas said after completing his prestige hat-trick of upsets.
The Greek rallied from a set and 2-5 down to turn the tables on Zverev, who had been bidding for a fourth Masters 1000 title.
Tsitsipas broke in the ninth game of the second on the way into a tie-breaker, where he calmly converted on his fifth set point after saving two match points for the second-seeded Zverev.
Tsitsipas then salvaged four breakpoints for 2-1 in the third, he traded breaks with the German and saved another trio of breakpoints for a 5-4 lead. He completed the victory after nearly two-and-a-half hours on Zverev’s sixth double fault.