Rome | Paul trounces Medvedev; Tsitsipas and Zverev remain on course

The shock of the day was the seemingly passive 73-minute, elimination of the Rome Masters defending champion.

I played some really good tennis. I played pretty aggressive, that was the game plan coming in Tommy Paul

This season Daniil Medvedev has reached two finals but failed to win the title on both occasions. And while he has also never successfully defended a title but his latest 6-1 6-4 defeat by Tommy Paul, was a surprise, especially the scoreline.

The Russian second seed lacked focus for most of the match and was broken by the American five times.

“I think it was a pretty clean match for me, other than maybe the first or second game in both sets,” Paul said following his victory. “I played some really good tennis. I played pretty aggressive, that was the game plan coming in.”

The loss leaves Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the favourites to take over the champion’s mantle and they are scheduled to meet in the final.

Zverev, a former champion of the event, progressed past Portugal’s Nuno Borges 6-2 7-5 and will face Taylor Fritz and either Tabilo or Zhang before possibly taking on Tsitsipas.

Taylor Fritz celebrates his victory

(Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

It won’t be an easy task for the German as the American is very much in form having reached his third Masters quarter final on clay this season and ousting Bulgaria’s rejuvenated Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-7(11) 6-1 on Tuesday in a battle lasting two-hours, 42-minutes.

Fritz had a match point during the second set breaker while Dimitrov needed 10 set points to force a decider.

“To be honest, I feel like normally in those situations, I’d be a lot more uptight, and nervy, but honestly, I felt pretty calm,” Fritz said of that lengthy and tight tiebreak. “I think it was tough because slowly the sun was moving the whole match, and right in the tiebreaker is the first time it was bad for me on that side. So I threw in the double fault.

“I had a really good opportunity on a second serve, match point, and he hit it into my body and a bit slower than the other ones. I just caught it a bit early trying to get out the way of it. It’s easy to go back and dwell on that the whole third set, but I did a really good job at just putting it behind me and not thinking about that second serve return.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches his fourth consecutive quarter final in Rome

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Meanwhile Tsitsipas, as the sixth seed, continued his strong clay season by crushing the ninth-seeded Australian, Alex de Minaur 6-1 6-2 to reach his fourth consecutive quarter final in Rome.

The Greek struck 14 winners and made just four unforced errors across the course of the match and was pleased with his performance.

“I tried to do the best that I could out there, by bringing up the best quality in terms of strokes, I delivered,” he said in his on-court interview.

“Throughout the entire match, I was pretty consistent with my serves and the ball placement. I was able to construct those points patiently and then wait for those shorter balls to come up.

“I really felt like my opponent felt the heaviness and the depth of my ball. It gave me courage; it gave me great belief in myself that I can continue pushing in that sense. I knew that I had something good working for me today.”

Also through is the seventh-seeded Pole, Hubert Hurkacz, had to work hard to defeat Argentina’s Sebastian Baez 5-7 7-6(4) 6-4 securing his victory after two-hours, 37-minutes by recovering from a set and a break down.

However South America will be well represented with two Chileans making the last eight, Nicolas Jarry and Alejandro Tabilo with the former advancing past a resilient French qualifier Alexandre Muller 7-5 6-3 and the latter taking out the big hitting 16th seed, Russia’s Karen Khachanov 7-6(5) 7-6(10) after two-hours, 32-minutes of tense play.

China’s Zhang Zhizhen ended Brazilian’s Thiago Monteiro’s run 7-6(4) 6-3 and will face Tabilo for a place in the last eight while Jarry will try to stop Tsitsipas make any further progress!



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