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Tsitsipas downs Medvedev, reaches French Open semis

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas returns the ball to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev during their men’s singles quarter-final match. (AFP)

PARIS (AFP) ‒ Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets Tuesday to stay on track for a first Grand Slam final at the French Open, while first-time semifinalists Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Tamara Zidansek are two wins from an unlikely title.

Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas qualified for his third successive major semifinal, winning 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 7-5 to avenge his defeat by second-ranked Medvedev at the Australian Open and set up a showdown with Alexander Zverev.

“I was playing against one of the best guys on the tour and I had to keep up with the intensity and elevate my game,” said Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas had won just one of seven previous matches with Medvedev, but the former arrived at Roland Garros favoured to reach the final after titles in Monte Carlo and Lyon, with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the opposite half of the draw.

Zverev, who trailed qualifier Oscar Otte by two sets in the first round, has now won 15 sets in a row as he eased into his first French Open semi-final with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 win over Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. 

He easily brushed aside the 46th-ranked Davidovich who hit 37 unforced errors and only 16 winners in his first major quarter-final.

Pavlyuchenkova reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the 52nd attempt and will be favoured to make the final when she takes on world number 85 Zidansek of Slovenia.

Pavlyuchenkova, the 31st seed, beat doubles partner Elena Rybakina 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 9-7 in her first quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros since 2011.

“There are so many emotions to reach a Grand Slam semi-final for the first time,” said 29-year-old Pavlyuchenkova who had fallen at the quarter-final stage at the majors on six previous occasions since her 2007 debut.

“I always had the tennis. Mentally I’m probably more solid now. Just trying to play smarter tennis. I’m working harder.”

Rybakina dumped out Serena Williams in the previous round and raced into a 4-1 lead in the opener. Pavlyuchenkova broke back in the seventh game before the 6ft (1.84m) Russian-born Kazakh dominated the tiebreak.

The Russian levelled the tie courtesy of breaks in the sixth and eighth games of the second set.

In a tense decider, there were four breaks in the first six games before Rybakina cracked in the 16th game, going down tamely on her sixth double fault.

The unheralded Zidansek became the first woman representing Slovenia to advance to the last four at a Grand Slam after beating in-form Spaniard Paula Badosa 7-5, 4-6, 8-6.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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