Jan-Lennard Struff defeated the 4th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the Madrid Masters semi-final. Struff lost to Aslan Karatsev in the last qualifying round, entering the main draw and defeating five rivals to advance into the final four as the third lucky loser at the Masters 1000 level!
The German will face Karatsev for a place in the title clash, embracing their second duel in this year's Caja Magica. Struff ousted Tsitsipas 7-6, 5-7, 6-3 in two and a half hours. They won 107 points each and stayed neck and neck in the opening two sets.
The better-ranked player grabbed a late break in the second set before losing serve once in the decider to hit the exit door and finish his run in the last eight. They fired 87 service winners on the fast clay, and Tsitsipas still had plenty of chances to seal the deal.
The Greek earned ten break chances and seized one. He played against one break point in the final set and failed to defend it, which cost him the victory. Struff landed 46 winners and 25 unforced errors, playing aggressive tennis from both wings.
Jan-Lennard Struff is through into the Madrid Masters semi-final as a lucky luser.
Tsitsipas added 32 winners and 18 unforced errors, more than a positive ratio but not enough to carry him home after so many wasted opportunities.
Stefanos produced six comfortable holds in the opener and had his chances before the tie break. He landed a forehand down the line winner in the fourth game and created two break chances. Jan-Lennard erased both with powerful serves and held to avoid an early setback.
The Greek played well on the return in game ten and placed a volley winner for a set point. Struff saved it with a booming serve and held for 5-5 and more drama. The set went into a tie break, and Tsitsipas forged a 4-1 advantage.
Jan-Lennard climbed back and leveled the score at 5-5 after an extended rally. The German earned a set point and seized it at 6-5 with a deep return that carried him in front after an hour. A lucky loser denied a break point at the start of the second set and stayed in touch with Tsitsipas, hoping to reach another tie break.
Stefanos delivered one good hold after another and had one more chance on the return at 5-5. The Greek seized the third break point after the rival's double fault and held at love with a forehand winner in game 12 to grab the set 7-5 and force a decider after an hour and 42 minutes.
Struff was under pressure at the start of the final set, facing two break points at 1-2. He stayed calm and denied them, gaining a boost and extending the next game. Stefanos squandered a game point and faced the first and only break point.
Jan-Lennard attacked and forced the rival's mistake to clinch a crucial break and open a 3-1 gap. The German cemented the advantage with a service winner in game five and moved closer to the finish line. He saved a break point in game seven with valiant strokes and served for the victory at 5-3.
Tsitsipas reached deuce with a forehand winner before Struff seized the second match point with a service winner for a place in the semi-final.
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