ATP Rotterdam: Gael Monfils, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Filip Krajinovic reach semis


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ATP Rotterdam: Gael Monfils, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Filip Krajinovic reach semis

Filip Krajinovic will play in back-to-back semi-finals on an indoor court, defeating an in-form Russian Andrey Rublev 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 30 minutes. Filip won eight points more than his rival, playing better on both the first and second serve and fending off four out of five break chances, stealing Andrey's serve twice to prevail in straight sets and stay on the course for the title.

There were no breaks of serve in the opener and it was the Serb who grabbed the tie break 7-2 with a service winner, taking a big step towards victory against the opponent who has scored 13 ATP wins in 2020 so far. Krajinovic clinched an early break in set number two as well before Rublev broke back after an incredible defense and a forehand winner in game eight, leveling the score at 4-4 before Filip delivered another break with a picture-perfect forehand crosscourt winner in the next game.

Serving for the triumph, the Serb held at 15 following a forehand error from the Russian to seal the deal and advance into the last four. Gael Monfils took down Daniel Evans 7-6, 6-2 in an hour and 52 minutes, receiving a medical timeout but bringing the match home with a fine performance in set number two.

Evans scored only one break in the entire match and it would have been enough for the opener had he held at 5-4, getting broken at love and losing both the tie break and the temper as he had a big argument with the chair umpire about one let call.

Monfils left the court for that medical timeout, returning even stronger and delivering breaks in games one and three of the second set, sealing the deal with an ace in game eight for the 11th victory of the season. Heading to Rotterdam with a mediocre 4-6 score, Felix Auger-Aliassime scored three wins to hit the semis, defeating Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 7-6 in an hour and 51 minutes in Friday's quarter-final.

Felix claimed four points more than his opponent in a mighty close encounter, giving serve away once and earning two breaks to move through without having to play a decider. Serving at 4-5 in the first set, Aljaz lost five straight points to hand the set to Auger-Aliassime who closed it with a forehand down the line winner that gave him the advantage and momentum, opening a 3-0 lead in set number two.

Bedene broke back in the fifth game and had a break chance at 5-5, denied by an ace from Felix who had to play against a set point at 5-6 in the tie break. He saved it with a forehand winner, moving over the top with another one at 7-6 to book his place in the semis, the second of the season after Adelaide.

In the most extended and most exciting clash of the day, Pablo Carreno Busta fended off two match points against the young Italian Jannik Sinner in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 triumph after two hours and 44 minutes. Sinner made an epic comeback in the decider, had those match points and claimed one point more than the Spaniard, not enough to cross the finish line first and stay on the course for the first ATP title.

Carreno Busta fended off 12 out of 14 break chances and won the opener with a single break at 5-5. Jannik raised his level in set number two, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net and scoring a break at 4-3 before taking the set 6-3 with a service winner in the next game.

Carreno Busta worked hard to avoid the break at the beginning of the decider, stealing Jannik's serve in the next game and serving for the win at 5-3. With no intention of giving up, Sinner broke back to reduce the deficit, repelling three match points in the tenth game on his serve and forging a 6-4 advantage in the tie break.

It wasn't to be for him, though, wasting both match points and allowing Pablo to secure the victory in the 14th point.