World number 64 and one of the youngest players in the Top 100, Frances Tiafoe, had to save match points in the opening round here in Estoril against the fellow American Tennys Sandgren but that's all behind him now after reaching his second semi-final of the season thanks to a 7-5 6-2 win over the Italian qualifier Simone Bolleli who has played his first ATP tournament of the season. These two never had a chance to play before and Frances was the dominant force on the court, losing 15 points in 10 service games and keeping his serve intact after saving one break point he faced.
Simone served at 80% but that didn't give him much as he had to play against eight break points and to suffer three breaks of serve, staying in touch with Frances only in the opening set. Simone had to work hard right from the start, saving four break points in the opening two service games and creating a chance of his own in game eight, only to be denied by a good volley from Frances.
The deciding moment came in game 11 when Tiafoe earned a break with two forehand winners, bringing the set home with a service winner in game 12 to move a set away from the triumph. The youngster took charge in set number two, dropping three points in his service games and earning breaks in games three and five after mistakes from Bolelli to move 4-1 ahead.
He sealed the deal with a hold at 15 in game eight thanks to another backhand error from Simone, staying in contention for his second ATP crown after winning Delray Beach in February. A day after he toppled the top seed Kevin Anderson, the rising Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas had to play another long and intense match, prevailing against Roberto Carballes Baena (he played for more than 3 hours on Thursday) 6-7 6-2 7-6 in 2 hours and 37 minutes for his 14th win of the season and the second consecutive semi-final after playing for the title in Barcelona last week. Teenager served at 56% but he drew the most from his initial shot, facing four break points and suffering three breaks of serve.
That wasn't enough for the Spaniard to bring the match home since he lost serve on five occasions from six break points, unable to score a win despite leading 3-1 in the final set. Roberto broke first in the third game of the match but Stefanos pulled it back immediately with a forehand down the line attack that forced an error from his rival.
They served well after that and it was Tsitsipas who had to fend off a break point with a smash winner in game 11 in order to reach the tie break but he lost it 7-4 after a double fault, trailing after the opener just like against Kevin.
The Greek shifted into a higher gear in set number two, blasting a forehand winner to notch his second break in game three and closing the set with three winners in game eight to force a deciding set where he was the favorite now.
Instead of that, Carballes Baena broke him at love in game four with an amazing backhand down the line winner but his lead was a short-lived one, as he missed a forehand in the following game to lose serve and bring Stefanos back into contention.
The Greek was on a roll now and he moved in front with a volley winner in game seven to rattle off three straight games and get closer to the finish line. Serving for the win in game 10, he rushed his shots a little bit to get broken at love and the match had to be decided in the tie break, with an initial 3-0 lead for the Spaniard.
Stefanos refused to surrender and he grabbed seven points in a row to complete another impressive win and reach the semis after a nice forehand attack in that 10th point, falling to the ground after another hard-fought win here in Estoril. Quarter-final results: