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Bonzi shocks Karatsev to reach Marseille semi-finals

It’s been a great week for French tennis so far, and Benjamin Bonzi is joining the party

Benjamin Bonzi of France Benjamin Bonzi (Panoramic)

It’s no wonder that Benjamin Bonzi feels at home in Marseille; the Nîmes native grew up an hour away from the city. And on Friday, the Frenchman shone like never before, eliminating the world No 15 Aslan Karatsev in straight sets (6-1, 6-3). He is through to the semi-finals of the Open 13, and will then try to reach his first final on the ATP circuit.

The 25-year-old is on a streak of eight consecutive wins following his title at the Cherbourg Challenger the week before. His most notable win up until this point came in 2017 at Roland-Garros when he beat the then-world No 66 – a certain Daniil Medvedev.

100 per cent of points on his first serve in first set

Bonzi was impressive against Karatsev with his control, his accuracy, his power, and winning 100 per cent of the points behind his first serve. He broke first at 2-1 and then again at 4-1, pushing Karatsev to the limit and closing out the first set with three aces. It was no wonder that the Russian looked downcast, as he did at the changeover in the second set, his head hidden under his white towel. He had just been broken on his first serve (2-1), and later sought medical attention for an issue with his upper left knee.

Bonzi maintained excellent statistics on his serve until the end of the match (88% of points behind his first ball), concluding the match with a final break and a final error from the Russian.

Before this week, the Frenchman had only played one player in the top 15 in his career. That was last year in Montpellier, against David Goffin (then No 15). For a first ATP final spot, Bonzi will face another Russian, Andrey Rublev, world No 7, who beat Lucas Pouille 6-3, 1-6, 6-2.

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