Stefanos Tsitsipas called Zdenek Kolar a "complete player", despite ultimately defeating his Czech opponent in the second round of the French Open.

Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each before the number four seed finally secured victory with another tie-break in the fourth set, sealing it 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7).

Kolar is ranked 134th in the world but looked every bit a threat to Tsitsipas on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent).

Speaking at a news conference after his win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

"It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

"He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

"I guess both today," he said. "I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not overexaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

"Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer after the Swede beat 29th seed Dan Evans on Thursday.

Stefanos Tsitsipas completed the third comeback win from two sets down of his career on Tuesday, defeating Lorenzo Musetti 5-7 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-2 at the French Open.

Before moving to a 2-0 head-to-head record over Musetti, the fourth-seed Greek's last such victory was against Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at the 2021 Australian Open.

Tsitsipas needed to draw on that experience and dig deep after only winning 60 per cent of points on his first serve in the first two sets on Tuesday, going on to then win 15 of 17 points in the deciding set.

Post-match, the world number four explained how he needed to isolate his focus on each point and build from there after going two sets down.

"Things don't come easy. I refuse to give up. That's simply how it works with me," Tsitsipas said. "You never really think about getting back after being two sets to love. You just play it point after point. You just wish that your efforts will pay off on a longer scale, longer run.

"Being in that situation, it's a mountain that you have to climb, and I was able to climb it and regain the momentum steadily, but consistently."

The 20-year-old Musetti was able to gain early momentum from the baseline and won the longer points, with an even share of winners as well as forced and unforced errors from Tsitsipas.

The match turned as Tsitsipas regained rhythm on his serve and with more free points coming his way, it then allowed him to apply pressure.

According to Tsitsipas, however, it was far from easy against a tough opponent who is at home on clay.

"He's fighting. He's a talented player that has a very nice one-handed backhand," he said afterwards. "He knows the game on clay. He has grown up playing these courts. He's definitely a difficult opponent to face in any circumstance, really.

"Once I really found my momentum on the serve, my routines and everything, I knew that it can be a different match. 

"I felt like I was serving better than him, creating more opportunities with my serve, pressing more. It would have been kind of not fair from my perspective to have a different outcome."

 

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are all on the same half of the draw at the French Open, while women's world number one Iga Swiatek will face a qualifier in the first round at Roland Garros.

Djokovic, who will make his Grand Slam return having missed the Australian Open, opens in Paris against Yoshihito Nishioka, while record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal meets Australia's Jordan Thompson.

The veteran pair of Djokovic and Nadal could challenge each other in the quarter-finals in the top half of the draw, where Alcaraz could come across world number three Alexander Zverev.

Alcaraz faces a qualifier in the first round and has won 16 of his last 17 matches, with the one blemish on his remarkable run coming against Sebastian Korda, who the Spaniard could meet in the third round.

Daniil Medvedev will have to get past Argentine Facundo Bagnis in the first round, while Lorenzo Musetti stands in the way of last year's runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas are joined in the wide-open bottom half of the draw by Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev, who meet home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and South Korea's Soonwoo Kwon respectively.

In the women's draw, 2020 champion Swiatek comes in as favourite and will look to continue her 28-match winning streak when she faces a qualifier in the first round, as does US Open winner Emma Raducanu.

The Brit will then take on Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Wang Xinyu before a potential last-16 meeting with Ons Jabeur, who first has to get past Poland's Magda Linette.

Meanwhile, Karolina Pliskova – who has a first-round clash with France's Tessah Andrianjafitrimo – could set up a quarter-final meeting with Swiatek, but the Pole may have to get past Simona Halep in the fourth round first.

Defending champion Barbora Krejcikova starts against Diane Parry, while Naomi Osaka was drawn against the in-form Amanda Anisimova, who beat the Japanese in the third round of the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic became the oldest winner of the Internazionali d'Italia men's singles title in the Open Era as he fended off Stefanos Tsitsipas on the clay in Rome.

The world number one said he played a "perfect set" to race through the opener, before coming from a break down in the second to earn a 6-0 7-6 (7-5) victory in Sunday's final.

Djokovic made it a record-extending 38th Masters 1000 title in what was his 55th final at this level, and it was his sixth triumph at this event in the Italian capital.

At 34 years, 11 months and 23 days old, Djokovic is 10 days older than the previous oldest Rome champion, Rafael Nadal, who took the title last year.

He boosted his head-to-head record to 7-2 against Greek star Tsitsipas, winning their last six matches and all five they have contested on clay, including last year's French Open final where Djokovic came from two sets behind to scoop the grand slam. This victory clearly augurs well for Djokovic's upcoming title defence in Paris.

Djokovic broke serve to love in the opening game, Tsitsipas swatting a volley into the net to hand over the early advantage and set the tone for a wildly one-sided set.

Tsitsipas broke to lead 3-1 in the second set and he served for it at 5-3 but was broken to 15, sending a forehand wide on game point. The tie-break that soon followed was hard fought, with Tsitsipas looping a backhand long on match point as Serbian Djokovic earned the trophy once again.

Reflecting on his fast start, and his first title of 2022, Djokovic said on Amazon Prime: "I pleasantly surprised myself, I can say, even though I had a clear game plan and strategy coming into the match. I knew what to expect from the other side so I knew what I had to do, but I did play a perfect set, no doubt about it.

"After that it was a little bit tight, the beginning of the second for me. He used it, and at this level one or two points can turn a match around and he was back in the game. At 4-1 up for him and 30-40, the match could have easily gone into a third set, but I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time to come back in the game, and the tie-breaker, I guess I was just an inch better, maybe calmer, and it was a tight tie-break for both of us."

Ahead of the French Open, which gets under way next Sunday, Djokovic is feeling in great shape for his title defence. Having missed the Australian Open in January in a deportation drama, Djokovic will head to Paris as a major rival to teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz.

Should Djokovic triumph at Roland Garros, he would match Nadal's men's record of 21 grand slams.

"I've been building my form in the last couple of weeks and like the previous years I knew that my best shape on clay was usually coming around Rome time," Djokovic said.

"So it couldn't be a better time, coming into Roland Garros with a title at this wonderful tournament. I'm going to Paris with a lot of confidence."

Novak Djokovic claimed his 1,000th ATP Tour win with a dominant victory over Casper Ruud in the semi-final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Saturday.

The world number one was in fine touch, winning an imposing 40 per cent of return points on first serve as he defeated the Norweigian world number 10 6-4 6-3 and progressed to the Rome final.

The Serbian becomes the fifth player in the open era to reach 1,000 wins, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

After the match, Djokovic asserted how seeing contemporaries in Federer and Nadal achieve respective milestones in 2015 and 2020 provided motivation.

"Thanks to the tournament and the crowd for celebrating the milestone with me," Djokovic said post-match.

"I've seen Roger and Rafa celebrate those milestones in the last couple of years and I was looking forward to get to that 1,000 myself. I'm really, really blessed and privileged to have that many victories on the tour.

"It's been a long time, ever since I won my first match on the tour. Hopefully I can keep going and many more victories to come."

Djokovic will look for victory 1,001 when he faces Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, after he defeated Alexander Zverev 4-6 6-3 6-3.

The 34-year-old leads their head-to-head matchup 6-2, with the last meeting being Djokovic's epic five-set win in the French Open final last year. Djokovic also won last year's quarter-final in Rome between the two.

This final appearance makes for the Greek world number five's best result in Rome, and he is savouring his time at the Foro Italico.

"It's one of those tournaments that I think has the most history in sport," Tsitsipas said. "As you can see looking around the sides, one of the most beautiful stadiums.

"There's a lot of history playing on these courts and you feel very proud that you made your way here and are able to participate in such a historically rich event."

Stefanos Tsitsipas sank the title hopes of Alexander Zverev as the Greek star edged the Rome edition of their semi-final series on clay this season.

At the Internazionali d'Italia, Tsitsipas scored a 4-6 6-3 6-3 victory over German Zverev to earn a place in Sunday's final.

These two players have now met 12 times in their careers, and Tsitsipas holds an 8-4 head-to-head winning record.

Three of those matches have come at clay-court ATP 1000 tournaments in the past four weeks, with Tsitsipas winning a semi-final on the way to the title in Monte Carlo, then losing to Zverev at the same stage in Madrid.

This latest instalment in Italy was a gripping contest, as the players battled to take on Novak Djokovic or Casper Ruud for the title.

An early break came in the seventh game when, serving at 30-40, Tsitsipas attacked the net but Zverev hit the net cord on his backhand return. The deflection disorientated Tsitsipas slightly and he volleyed wide. One break was enough for the set.

Tsitsipas broke in the second game of the second set, with Zverev serving a double fault at the critical moment, and then got decisively ahead in the fifth game of the decider when Zverev netted on the forehand.

This was a strong win for last year's French Open runner-up, who lost that championship match from two sets up against Djokovic at Roland Garros. It carries Tsitsipas through to his first Internazionali d'Italia final, and a 20th final of his ATP career. He has an 8-11 record in finals to date, and a tour-leading 31 match wins this season.

Felix Auger-Aliassime proved no match for Novak Djokovic, who looks well set to claim his first title of 2022.

It has been a frustrating season to date for the Serbian, who reached a final in Belgrade last month before being beaten by rising star Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid earlier in May.

Yet with Rafael Nadal out of the picture, Djokovic is the clear favourite heading into the Internazionali d'Italia semi-finals, after he beat Auger-Aliassime 7-5 7-6 (7-1) on Friday.

The win not only tees up a semi-final against Casper Ruud, who saw off Nadal's conqueror Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (9-7) 7-5, but also ensures Djokovic will spend a 370th week at the top of the ATP rankings, after he slipped below Daniil Medvedev in the live standings.

Djokovic will add 360 points to his total for reaching the last four, and he now has a milestone 1,000th Tour-level win in his sights when he takes on Ruud for a place in the final. The 34-year-old has won a record 37 Masters 1000 titles so far in his career, including five in Rome.

"I thought it was high-level tennis," Djokovic said. "[Auger-Aliassime] did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well.

"I thought I could have finished the job earlier, but credit to him for fighting back. 

"I know Felix well. He's been around the top of the men's game for quite a few years. He's got a lethal serve, honestly. He's hitting his spots in the box incredibly well with the serve, and it was not easy for me at all to return.

"He's also returning well, he's moving well. He's a very complete player."

The other semi-final will see second seed Alexander Zverev, who beat Cristian Garin 7-5 6-2, take on Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Greek Tsitsipas overcame Jannik Sinner 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, becoming the first player to reach 30 wins on the ATP Tour in 2022.

"We have similar game styles but he is one of the most difficult players to play against on the Tour," Tsitsipas said, previewing his clash with Zverev.

"I have a lot of respect for him. He has achieved a lot so far and I try and look up to him with the things he has achieved."

Rafael Nadal suffered his earliest Internazionali d'Italia exit since 2008 at the hands of Denis Shapovalov on Thursday, but Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarter-finals. 

'King of Clay' Nadal fell to a 1-6 7-5 6-2 defeat to Shapovalov in the third round in Rome, with the Canadian surging to victory after winning 12 straight points from 2-2 in the deciding set. 

The legendary Spaniard stormed through the first set thanks to a series of brilliant returns, but his opponent dominated at the net in the second to take the match the distance. 

Shapovalov then flipped the narrative on its head by winning 14 of a possible 22 return points to set up a quarter-final meeting with Casper Ruud, who beat Jenson Brooksby 6-3 6-4. 

Djokovic is one win away from retaining his status as world number one after taking just 75 minutes to see off three-time grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-2. 

After a lengthy spell out injured, Wawrinka ended a 15-month wait for an ATP Tour victory at Foro Italico before the Serbian brought his run to an end. 

"It is great to see Stan back and winning. He won two tough matches. You can see he is still not physically where he wants to be. But, nevertheless, he is Stan Wawrinka and he can hurt you if you give him time," Djokovic said. 

"I managed to do well from the beginning. I really moved him around the court and held my serve comfortably except for that loss of my serve in the second set." 

Felix Auger-Aliassime stands between Djokovic and the number one spot after overcoming lucky loser Marcos Giron 6-3 6-2. 

In the other half of the draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner will play out an entertaining quarter-final after they beat Karen Khachano and Filip Krajinovic respectively. 

Alexander Zverev, the defeated finalist in Madrid last week, beat Alex De Minaur 6-3 7-6 (7-5) and will battle Cristian Garin for a place in the final four.

Alexander Zverev avenged his Monte Carlo semi-final loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas, booking his place at the Madrid Open final with a 6-4 3-6 6-2 win on Saturday.

Zverev was dominant on serve, giving up only two break points for the match with a 73 per cent first-serve rate, while winning 40 of a total 48 points on his first serve.

The German will now aim to defend his title in Sunday's final when he faces Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated world number one Novak Djokovic earlier on Saturday.

The second seed will be seeking his sixth ATP 1000 title, with Sunday's final against the home favourite to be his 10th at that level.

"I'm just extremely happy to be in the final here," Zverev said post-match. "I know it's going to be an extremely tough match tomorrow but I hope I can manage to play my best and give myself a chance.

"It's going to be his [Alcaraz] court for the next 15 years probably. It has been Rafa's [Nadal] court for the past 15 years and it's going to be his court for the next 15 years.

"I just hope I can give him some trouble and I hope I can manage to win tomorrow."

Tsitsipas was similarly strong on his first serve but had a much lower rate at only 56 per cent for the match. Zverev simply had more looks at his opponent's second serve, winning 15 points compared to Tsitsipas' eight, but with each holding a 44 per cent success rate.

The defending champion at Caja Magica capitalised when it mattered, though, claiming the opening three games in the deciding set to set up the eventual win.

Rafael Nadal saved four match points before seeing off David Goffin 6-3 5-7 7-6 (11-9) to book his place in the Madrid Open quarter-finals.

A five-time champion in the Spanish capital, Nadal is looking to match Novak Djokovic's career record of 37 ATP Masters 1000 titles this week.

Returning to action for the first time since losing to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final, after which he discovered he had a stress fracture of a rib, Nadal was taken all the way by Goffin.

Indeed, the Belgian qualifier won four straight games from 5-3 down in the second set to force a decider, but he saw four opportunities to advance to the quarter-finals go begging.

Nadal subsequently prevailed to reach his 99th Masters 1000 quarter-final, setting up a last-eight showdown with teenage compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.

Birthday boy Alcaraz, who turned 19 on Thursday, celebrated with a hard-earned 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 victory over Britain's Cameron Norrie.

Defending champion Alexander Zverev reached his fifth successive quarter-final at this event after beating Lorenzo Musetti, who retired with a thigh injury shortly after losing the opening set, at 6-3 1-0 down.

Next up for Zverev is Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Rotterdam Open champion, who is targeting a first clay-court Masters 1000 semi-final. Auger-Aliassime won 90 per cent of points on first serve in a commanding 6-1 6-2 victory over Jannik Sinner.

Stefanos Tsitsipas also produced a strong-serving display in his 6-3 6-4 triumph over Grigor Dimitrov. Last season’s French Open runner-up hit 10 aces along the way.

The fourth seed set up a showdown with Andrey Rublev, who had eight aces as he overcame Dan Evans 7-6 (9-7) 7-5.

Meanwhile, Hubert Hurkacz will play Djokovic in the last eight after hitting 16 aces in his 7-5 6-3 win over Dusan Lajovic. Djokovic's much-anticipated clash with Andy Murray was called off, with the Briton unwell, handing his Serbian rival a walkover.

David Goffin was impressive in his 6-4 6-2 win against Botic van de Zandschulp – earning a third round fixture against Rafael Nadal on the clay courts of the Madrid Open.

The Belgian was stronger both on serve and in the return game, winning 66 per cent of his service points compared to Van de Zandschulp's 53 per cent, and 47 per cent of his return points to the Dutchman's 34 per cent.

Goffin will face Nadal next for a place in the quarter-finals as the Spaniard searches for his first Madrid crown since 2017.

In a clash between two of the world's top-25 players, Italy's Jannik Sinner came out on top 6-4 6-1 against Australia's Alex de Minaur.

After a tight first set, which featured four consecutive breaks of serve, Sinner found another gear in the second.

He improved his service points from 53 per cent up to 80 per cent, allowing no break point opportunities for the Aussie and converting the two break points he created for himself.

Fourth seed Stefano Tsitsipas was rock-solid against France's Lucas Pouille, taking it 6-3 6-4.

The Greek won 94 per cent of his successful first serves and allowed just one break point – instantly breaking back to-love the following game.

Carlos Alcaraz produced some supreme tennis as he overcame world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open.

Having already played earlier on Friday, defeating compatriot Jaume Munar 6-3 6-3, 18-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz went the distance against Monte Carlo champion Tsitsipas.

Showing his proficiency on clay, Alcaraz triumphed 6-4 5-7 6-2 to set up a semi-final against Alex de Minaur, who prevailed 6-3 5-7 6-1 over Cameron Norrie.

Alcaraz, the fifth seed, was in excellent form against the top seed and last year's runner-up, and cruised ahead in a dominant first set, striking 14 winners to Tsitsipas' five.

Indeed, Tsitsipas – who had beaten Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets earlier in the day – could not hide his frustration when he smashed the ball hard Alcaraz's way to give up the set, much to the anger of a partisan crowd.

Alcaraz seemed en route to having things wrapped up quickly as he followed up a supreme backhand winner with a sensational drop shot, yet from 4-1 down, Tsitsipas reeled off four straight games to nudge himself ahead, breaking to take the set.

That comeback took just too much out of Tsitsipas, though, with Alcaraz roaring into a 4-0 lead in the decider and, after fending off two breakpoints, sealed his biggest win so far at the first time of asking to reach a fourth semi-final of 2022.

Alcaraz has won all three of his meetings with the Greek and will break into the top 10 of the ATP rankings next week, becoming the youngest player to do so since Spanish great Rafael Nadal in 2005, following his first title in Barcelona.

Indeed, he will be the ninth youngest player overall to make the top 10 and the 20th teenager to do so, though the first since Andy Murray in 2007.

"Probably my biggest win on clay court. It was unbelievable," said Alcaraz. 

"Unbelievable game that I played, unbelievable atmosphere that I lived today on court. It was unbelievable everything. The atmosphere here, the crowd, the level that I played, the level of the match. It was incredible.

"I'm playing an incredible level. And I think that I'm ready to get the title."

Vying for a place in the final in the other semi will be Diego Schwartzman and Pablo Carreno Busta, who both produced remarkable turnarounds in their quarter-final matches.

Schwartzman came back to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 3-6 6-2 6-3, following on from an earlier win over Lorenzo Musetti. 

Carreno Busta, meanwhile, toppled Casper Ruud 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3, though only after saving three match points in the second set in a victory that took three hours.

At the Serbia Open, second seed Andrey Rublev defeated qualifier Taro Daniel 6-3 6-3 to progress to the semi-finals.

In windy conditions in Belgrade, Rublev had little trouble in securing a 74-minute win, teeing up a clash with Fabio Fognini and moving to 21-5 for the season.

Rublev has met the Italian on nine occasions previously, losing five times and winning on four occasions.

"It's going to be tough. Fabi, he's super talented, he can play amazing and it's going to be a tough match with a lot of long rallies, so I just need to do my best and we will see what happens," said Rublev.

Fognini made light work of defeating Oscar Otte 7-5 6-4.

Novak Djokovic again overcame the challenge of a fellow home favourite to advance to the semi-finals at the Serbia Open on Thursday. 

The world number one had battled from a set down against Laslo Djere 24 hours earlier and was once more made to work hard for his win versus Miomir Kecmanovic. 

The seventh seed took the opener without facing a break point and led early in the second set too. 

But Kecmanovic could not hold off Djokovic, who recovered to win 4-6 6-3 6-3 and reach the last four for the fourth time in five campaigns in Belgrade. 

After two victories in two nights against Serbians for the two-time winner, Djokovic is on a 10-0 run in matches with his compatriots and 27-4 all-time. 

The 20-time grand slam champion also has a 36-6 record in Serbia and has particularly enjoyed the "strange" opportunity to face his countrymen in front of a home crowd. 

"It's a very strange feeling, sharing the court with your compatriots," he said. "Obviously the crowd was phenomenal for both players in yesterday's match and today's. 

"They're very rare occasions when I'm able to play at home and experience this atmosphere, so I'm trying to enjoy every single moment." 

Djokovic is the last Serbian remaining in the tournament, though, and takes on third seed Karen Khachanov – a winner against Thiago Monteiro – in the semis. 

There remain two quarter-finals to play on Friday, as Andrey Rublev faces Taro Daniel while Fabio Fognini welcomes the challenge of Oscar Otte. 

Meanwhile, there were only two matches completed at the Barcelona Open due to rain, but Ilya Ivashka ensured fans were rewarded for their patience as he took Stefanos Tsitsipas the distance. 

Ivashka eventually went down 6-1 4-6 6-2 to the top seed in a heavily delayed second-round contest. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas defended his Monte Carlo Masters crown and lifted his eighth ATP Tour title by defeating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets on Sunday.

Greek Tsitsipas, who defeated Andrey Rublev to triumph in Monaco last year, eased past second seed Alexander Zverev in the semi-final and repeated the trick with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) victory over Davidovich Fokina.

The Spaniard beat Novak Djokovic and reigning Indian Wells Masters champion Taylor Fritz en route to his maiden ATP Tour final, and started well on Court Rainier III with an early break.

However, Tsitsipas found his rhythm with his ferocious forehand to break back before winning four of the next five games to take the lead.

The world number five, appearing in his fourth Masters 1000 final, then failed to serve out for the match at 5-4 up in the second set, but recovered in the tie-break to secure his first trophy of the season.

In doing so, Tsitsipas becomes the sixth player to manage consecutive Monte Carlo titles in the Open Era, while half of his eight tour-level titles have come on clay.

"I am very proud of myself," Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. "Things weren't going well at one point, but I managed to stay composed to finish the match off.

"I am really proud with the belief I put in my game. Sometimes you doubt yourself, but it is always important to keep your head high."

Davidovich Fokina was aiming to become the first unseeded champion in Monte Carlo since Thomas Muster in 1992, and Tsitsipas acknowledged the 22-year-old made him fight to reclaim the trophy.

"He fought in moments I didn't expect him to fight," Tsitsipas said. "He can hit incredible winners out of nowhere and play unpredictably.

"But I was able to minimise that. I knew he would be a dangerous opponent but that is a great win for me. I think we will see great results from him in the future."

Stefanos Tsitsipas remains on course for a second consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title after recording a straight-sets semi-final win over Alexander Zverev.

The third seed, who defeated Andrey Rublev to clinch the title in Monaco last year, produced a scintillating performance to beat the world number three 6-4 6-2 in Saturday's last-four encounter.

Tsitsipas will face world number 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Sunday's final, and the Greek said he will need to perform at an even higher level to defeat the 22-year-old, whose incredible run continued with a three-set win over Grigor Dimitrov in the final four.

"It was good," Tstispas told Amazon Prime Video of his semi-final win. "I don't know whether the long match [his three-set quarter-final win over Diego Schwartzman on Friday] gave me some rhythm, but I was able to play good tennis today. I'm happy with the level I was able to execute, and I came up with some good ideas on the court.

"I'm looking forward to the next one, I have a difficult opponent tomorrow, so I need to be ready and to take the best out of this one and move on.

"It's going to take a little bit more [to beat Davidovich Fokina], he's in a good rhythm. I've played him before, and he's a difficult opponent, I'm going to be as ready as possible, he's definitely improved and I'm going to have to produce the best tennis I can."

Davidovich Fokina, who has made headlines by eliminating Novak Djokovic and Indian Wells Masters champion Taylor Fritz during a thrilling run in the municipality, beat Dimitrov 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 earlier on Saturday, reaching his first ATP Tour final.

The unseeded Spaniard needed two hours and 43 minutes to wrap up his semi-final contest, and revealed that a bathroom break allowed him to reset his mind and clinch a hard-fought victory after he failed to serve out the second set at 5-4 up.

"I am so happy to be in the final, it's a dream come true to try to have the title," he said after the win.

"When I was a kid, I was dreaming about this day and it's come true, I'm so happy.

"In the second set I had my chances, I was so tight. But I went to the bathroom [after the second set] and I said to myself 'I want this'. Now I am in the final, I will enjoy, I have all the power with me."

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