Rotterdam | De Minaur sets up birthday clash with Dimitrov

The ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam, the first ATP 500 event of the current season has reached the last four and the surprise is the elimination of the second seed, Andrey Rublev who went down to Alex de Minaur at the quarter final stage.

In big moments, I played great, and it got me the win today.” Alex de Minaur

The fourth seeded Australian beat the Russian 7-6(5) 4-6 6-3 in what was a satisfying reversal of the fourth-round result at the season’s opening grand slam in Melbourne but, as the score line suggests, it was a two hour and 32-minute battle.

“I kept telling myself to be brave and go after it, because ultimately I can’t just run around against Andrey,” the 24-year-old Australian said on the eve of his birthday.

“He’s got too much power, too many weapons, and he’ll just dictates me from one side to the other.

“So, if I want to be effective against Andrey, I’ve got to back myself, I’ve got to try to be aggressive and hit the ball flatter and bigger than I normally do. In big moments, I played great, and it got me the win today.”

De Minaur will face Grigor Dimitrov in the semi-final after the Bulgarian opened the day’s play with a 7-6(2) 3-6 6-4 victory over the Kazak, Alexander Shevchenko for his 13th win of the season.

The clash will be played on February 17, when De Minaur will be celebrating his 25th birthday in what is incredibly, a repeat of last year’s Rotterdam quarter final match between them!

“I played him on my birthday, and he was rude enough to beat me when I was two match points up,” De Minaur recollected.

“I’m playing him tomorrow, which will be my birthday again, so I’m hoping he’s a little bit nicer to me. We’ll see.”

At the top half, the Australian Open champion, Jannick Sinner as expected, reached the last four after Milos Ranic retired after 65-minutes.

The big Canadian, renown for his huge serve, pushed the Italian hard in the opening set and had two opportunities in the 10th game, to clinch it but Sinner held on and secured it in the tie-break only for the injury prone Raonic to retire two games later with the score standing at 7-6(4) 1-1.

For Raonic it seems that his problems with injuries still plague him as it has done for the past three years and as regards this season, it is the second time he has retired with a physical problem.

“I was up a break in the first set and missed a couple of things,” Sinner reflected after shaking hands with Raonic. “In the last two rounds I was struggling a little bit to find myself on the court and also today I feel like he was playing better than me in the first set.

“At the end of the day this is not how you want to win the match. He has had so many injuries throughout his career and hopefully he will have a speedy recovery.”

Tallon Griekspoor carries Dutch hopes for a home victory

(Photo by Rene Nijhuis/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Sinner will next play home favourite Tallon Griekspoor, who beat Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 7-5 7-6(4) in their quarter-final clash.

Sinner has now won 23 of his last 24 matches and could move to a career-high No.3 in the world if he wins the title on Sunday.

The Italian got the first break of the match against Raonic to lead 3-2 but was immediately pulled back as Raonic levelled and, at 5-4 he saved a set point with a brilliant forehand.

Raonic then missed a forehand on his second set point as Sinner held on to force a tiebreak which he went on to claim.

The second set lasted just nine minutes as Raonic appeared to grimace after making it 1-1 when he threw in the towel by shaking hands with Sinner and the umpire.



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