Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev are the only seeds left playing the Hamburg European Open and as they are in separate parts of the draw, should be favourites for the final provided their semi-final opponents don’t continue their own excellent runs.
Dusan is a difficult opponent to play on clay, with a lot of spin and variation in his shots. I think I had to do something extra for the victory today. I will keep working hard. Stefanos Tsitsipas
The second seed from Greece, Tsitsipas had a tight 98-minute quarter-final battle with Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic before beating him in straight sets.
The 22-year-old world No.6 recovered from 5-3 down in a first-set tie-break to win 7-6(5) 6-2 and declared himself happy with his performance.
“It was a perfect day; sunny, good people, good atmosphere and good clay,” said Tsitsipas during his on-court interview.
“Dusan is a difficult opponent to play on clay, with a lot of spin and variation in his shots. I think I had to do something extra for the victory today. I will keep working hard.”
He also spoke about the crowd support of the German fans, which he was very thankful for. “I feel loved here and that’s great, I think that’s a big bonus.”
Tsitsipas will face Chile’s Cristian Garin, who was a 3-6 6-4 6-4 winner over Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan, in the last four.
The second semi-final will see Spain’s Bautista Agut take on Casper Ruud of Norway.
Fifth seeded Russian Rublev beat Spaniard Bautista Agut, seeded four, 6-2 7-5, while the Norwegian world No. 30 Ruud saw off Ugo Humbert 7-5 3-6 6-1.
“I’m really happy to be back (in the semi-finals),” Rublev, last year’s losing Hamburg finalist, said. “I have great memories from last year. I’m playing good here, I win great matches. Especially today, against a really, really tough opponent, against Roberto that is a really good friend of mine, which is not easy to play. Yeah, I’m really happy with my performance and we’ll see what’s gonna happen next.”
Looking ahead to next week’s major, Rublev added: “I know who I’m gonna play in my first match in Paris. I know that it’s Sam Querrey, but for the moment I’m not thinking about it. First, I wanna finish here.”