Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to his 20th ATP final and the fifth at the Masters 1000 level. The Greek defeated Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes for his first Foro Italico title clash, facing Novak Djokovic or Casper Ruud in Sunday's final.
Thus, Tsitsipas became the fourth active player with the final at all three clay-court Masters 1000 events after Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Stefanos toppled Alexander for the eighth time in 12 encounters, losing the opener but controlling the pace after that to remain on the title course.
Tsitsipas played better behind the second serve and fended off two out of three break points to keep the pressure on the other side. Alexander struggled on the second serve and experienced three breaks from five chances offered to his opponent.
Like many times before, the German did not know what to do in the encounter's closing stages.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to his first Rome Masters final.
He could not impose his strokes and made too many errors to push the rival through.
Both players had more unforced errors than winners, and Stefanos built the advantage in the shortest and more extended rallies to emerge at the top. There was not much to separate them in the opening games, and they reached 3-3 after 34 minutes.
Zverev grabbed a break in the seventh game after a lucky net cord returned that sent him 4-3 in front. The German confirmed the lead with an ace in the next one and closed the opener with a hold at love after a service winner for 6-4 in 50 minutes.
Tsitsipas got his first break in the second set's second game after Zverev's two double faults and defended two break points in the next one for 3-0. Alexander faced more troubles on serve in the sixth game, but he survived them to remain within one break deficit.
Tsitsipas served well and held at 30 in game nine for 6-3 and momentum ahead of the decider. Both players served well in the final set's opening four games for 2-2. Alexander netted a forehand in the fifth game to experience a break and find himself 3-2 behind.
Stefanos grabbed the next game with a touchy drop shot and moved closer to the finish line. The Greek clinched the eighth game to open a 5-3 gap and force the rival to serve to stay in the match. Zverev lost the ground and got broken at love in game nine after a loose backhand to propel Tsitsipas into the title clash.