Paris: Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the second time as he brushed aside Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-2 at the French Open on Monday.
The Greek fifth seed was solid on serve throughout and played neatly as his Bulgarian opponent lost focus at crucial times under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.
Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece will next face Russian 13th seed Andrey Rublev.Credit:Getty Images
Last year's ATP Finals winner Tsitsipas, whose best result at a major is reaching the Australian Open semi-finals in 2019, will next face Russian 13th seed Andrey Rublev, with a last-four clash with world number one Novak Djokovic looming.
"I felt comfortable. Playing Grigor … he can be unpredictable so coming into the match you don't know what to expect," said Tsitsipas.
"We have a similar style of play so I knew if I could be as aggressive as possible and use my forehand and my serve I knew my opportunities would come.
"My aggressiveness on return games and my focus on important points made the difference."
The 22-year-old raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set. Eighteenth seed Dimitrov went up a gear at 5-3, only to see three break points saved by Tsitsipas, who served it out to take the set.
The Greek had the upper hand in the second set, creating three break chances while comfortably holding serve. Tsitsipas won a tiebreak after saving two set points.
"The tiebreak was where all the money went. I tried to take it point by point, I showed a lot of discipline. It was a very responsible win in the second set," said Tsitsipas, who had a medical time out for an irritated left eye.
Petra Kvitova blew kisses to the crowd after advancing through to the quarter-finals.Credit:AP
"Yeah, I got a bit emotional last two points of my match," she said. "My memories, happy memories. When I made my comeback here in 2017, when I step on the Philippe Chatrier, I couldn't really imagine me to be in the quarter-final of this slam. Everything just came back to me."
Three years ago, the left-handed Kvitova made her comeback at Roland Garros after sustaining serious injuries to her left hand following a knife attack by a robber at her home in the Czech Republic.
"When I'm talking, I'm getting emotional again. It's been a long ride definitely. Everything came to my mind," she said. "My whole family, people who I loved to help me through the tough, tough time. I don't know, just everything came back."
Then there were some match-point nerves to deal with.
At the US Open last month, at the same stage of the competition, Kvitova wasted four match points in a loss to American Shelby Rogers.
"That match was really tough. Even I play great, I mean, I didn't just make it," she said. "It happen to me after such a long time that I didn't win the match from the match point. Especially in a grand slam, right? It was really painful."
Kvitova's two grand slam titles were won on the green grass of Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014.
Success has so far eluded the former second-ranked player on Roland Garros' red clay. Her only semi-final in western Paris was in 2012, and since then she'd reached the fourth round just once prior to this tournament, and that was five years ago.
"I think it's been a miracle for me to make the semi-final here," she said. "After eight years to be in the quarter-final again, it's great. I'm really happy for that, that I'm still able to play on all surfaces."
Kvitova had a first chance to close out the match serving at 5-2, but Zhang broke and then held.
"She served very well, played very aggressive," Kvitova said. "It's great, it was a nice battle today."
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