Defending champion Tsitsipas to face Davidovich Fokina in Monte Carlo final
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Defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas brushed aside Alexander Zverev on Saturday to set up a Monte Carlo Masters final against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, the conqueror of world number one Novak Djokovic.
Greek world number five Tsitsipas beat third-ranked Zverev 6-4, 6-2, showing no ill effects of a marathon quarter-final win over Diego Schwartzman which finished at 11:00pm Friday.
"It was hard to resume today after a difficult match last night" said 23-year-old Tsitsipas.
"My body was not at 100%, but I am very happy with the tennis I produced."
He appeared fresher than Olympic champion Zverev who had also drawn deep on his reserves on Friday to beat Jannik Sinner in a 3hr 07min quarter-final.
Zverev was the more under-powered of the two on Saturday.
Tsitsipas broke in the ninth game of the opener before reeling off four games in a row from 2-2 in the second set. The contest was over inside 75 minutes.
Davidovich Fokina, ranked at 46, reached his first career ATP final with a 6-4, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3 win over Grigor Dimitrov.
"It was a difficult match. I had my chances in the second set, but Grigor played well and I was tired," said the 22-year-old Spaniard, who knocked out Djokovic on Tuesday.
"I kept fighting, I wanted to see where my limits were."
It was a roller-coaster afternoon for Davidovich Fokina who was a set and then 4-2 and 5-3 ahead in the second.
But he won just three of the next 12 points with two double faults as Dimitrov hit back.
The Spaniard then trailed 2-0 in the decider before racking up five straight games for 5-2. An ace on a second match point gave him victory.
"When I was a kid I was dreaming about this day," said Davidovich Fokina who had also beat Indian Wells Masters champion Taylor Fritz on his way to the final.
"The second set I had my chances, but I didn't play very well. I was so tight and he just put the ball in. The tie-break was also tight. But I went to the bathroom and said that I want this win."
Davidovich Fokina, who reached the last eight in Monte Carlo in 2021, will be aiming to win his first tour-level title on Sunday.
However, Tsitsipas, the 2021 French Open runner-up, will be favourite, owning a 2-0 career edge over the Spaniard.
The first of those wins came in Monte Carlo last year when Davidovich Fokina had to retire from their quarter-final clash.
Dimitrov, 30, was playing in his second semi-final in Monte Carlo, having enjoyed a run to the last four in 2018.