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Tsitsipas’ quest to defend Monte-Carlo title continues, beats Schwartzman in thriller to reach semi-finals

Last year’s champion let a huge lead slip – but still edged to victory

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Monte-Carlo 2022 Stefanos Tsitsipas, Monte-Carlo 2022 (© AI / Reuters / Panoramic)

Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters Draw Order of play

It looked like it was going to be the most one-sided of the Monte-Carlo quarter-finals when defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas was 6-2, 5-2 up against Diego Schwartzman.

Instead it turned out to be a thrilling three-setter – with the third seed ultimately fending off a stunning comeback from the Argentinian, taking his place in the final four with a 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-4 win.

In front of a crowd reduced and rather muted after the drama of the previous three matches, the 12th seed looked utterly lost for the first five games as the Greek asserted his dominance – although a couple of holds brought some level of respectability to the first-set scoreline.

A disconsolate Argentinian kicked the dirt in frustration when Tsitsipas took a 4-2, 30-0 lead in the second set, knowing he was running out of time to turn things round, and not playing well enough to manage it.

And that seemed to give him the fuel to improve his performance, winning three games in a row to level up at 5-5.

Diego Schwarzman
Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman celebrates after winning the second set during his quarter final match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Tsitsipas – despite a foot fault – then held serve, with Schwartzman doing the same despite two double-faults. Inevitably with such a rollercoaster second set, it went to a tiebreaker – and Schwartzman had the initiative, defending brilliantly to take it 6-3 and force a decider that had looked more or less impossible less than a hour previously.

The third set began with Tsitsipas receiving a warning for coaching, and Schwartzman raced to a 4-0 lead, painting the line with a crashing forehand as a punctuation mark. There was still a twist in store, though, as Tsitsipas put together a string of five games to put the pressure on as Schwartzman thought he had the finish line in sight, edging in front once more at 5-4.

Schwartzman took to his seat with an expression of utter disbelief as Tsitsipas prepared to serve for the match – and got himself an amazing match point with a diving volley, rolling to the ground with his opponent stranded behind the baseline. Schwartzman saved the first, but not the second, as his return clipped but failed to go over the net after an incredible rally. The two embraced at the end in recognition of the other’s valour throughout.

Tsitsipas now faces Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals – another player who had a tough battle in the last eight, his against Jannik Sinner.

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