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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, April 12, 2024


Jannik Sinner held off Holger Rune 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 scoring his ninth straight win, avenging his 2023 semifinal loss to the Dane and setting up a Monte-Carlo semifinal vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Photo credit: Mateo Villalba/Getty

Two match points slipped from Jannik Sinner’s grip in the second-set tiebreaker as he faced a revitalized Holger Rune in the third set.

Readjusting his strings, Sinner re-routed Rune’s comeback to continue his impeccable season.

Medvedev: Controlling Crazy

The second-seeded Sinner repelled Rune 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, to reach his third consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal of the season in Monte-Carlo.

It’s the ninth straight victory for Sinner, who avenged his painful 2023 semifinal loss to Rune setting up a Monte-Carlo semifinal vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Monte-Carlo fans were chanting his name and Sinner answered the call improving to 25-1 on the season and 45-3 since the US Open.

The 22-year-old Italian scored a valuable victory: Sinner’s win ensures he will retain the world No. 2 ranking on Monday—and makes the Miami Open champion the only man to reach semifinals in all three Masters 1000 tournaments this season.

"For sure it's a tough match, no? I had some chances in the second. I couldn't use them," Sinner told the media in Monte-Carlo. "But, you know, this is tennis. Sometimes you take them with the first breakpoint; sometimes you don't take them. I just tried to stay focused. I had chances in the tiebreak. Then he played a very good point.

"Then after, my return was out just a little bit, but, you know, this can happen. I just tried to stay focused on the third set. I was expecting a very tough match, which it was today, so I'm very proud that I won today and let's see what's coming tomorrow."

The 12th-ranked Tsitsipas is 5-3 lifetime against Sinner, including a 3-1 record in their clay-court clashes..

World No. 12 Tsitsipas tore through the final four games grounding a banged-up Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-2 for his eighth win in nine meetings vs. the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion.

It’s the seventh consecutive season Tsitsipas has secured a spot in a Masters 1000 semifinal and his 16th Masters 1000 semifinal overall.

Two-time Monte-Carlo champion Tsitsipas is playing for his third final in the Principality in the last four years.

Today’s second quarterfinal was a rematch of the 2023 semifinals that saw Rune rally past Sinner 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.

That 2023 match ended with a cold handshake as Sinner seemed annoyed by Rune’s antics, which included antagonizing then shushing some vocal fans during the match.

This time around, Sinner was fueled by the confidence of the dominant 24-1 2024 record he carried on court, while Rune had to be physically flagging.

The 20-year-old Dane spent four-and-a-half hours on court yesterday first completing his 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 win over Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal before returning to court to save a couple of match points in a 7-6(9), 3-6, 7-6(2) thriller over red-hot Grigor Dimitrov.

Sinner slashed an ace down the T throwing down a love hold to wrap the 42-minute opening set.

The Australian Open champion won six of seven trips to net and made the lone break of the set stand.

Sixty-five minutes into the match, Rune double faulted twice in succession to fall into a triple break point hole.

The resourceful Rune used a drop shot winner, a serve and volley and plenty of guile to dig out of the dilemma holding for a 3-2 second-set lead.

Serving at 5-all, love-30, Rune was hit with a time violation warning by chair umpire Damien Dumusois.

A frustrated Rune responded with chirping hand signals and a “be quiet” eliciting another warning. That action prompted Rune to call for supervisor Cรฉdric Mourier to plead his cause and point out he didn’t use any profanity in his protest.

While that conversation was ongoing, Monte-Carlo fans started a sing-song chant of “Ole! Ole! OIe! Ole!” 

After about a five-minute break play resumed and Sinner smacked a series of sharp crosscourt backhands drawing the netted reply for triple break point.

Rune saved the first break point with a forehand winner, dodged the second when Sinner sprayed a forehand return wide and denied the third when the Italian missed a backhand return.

By then, Rune saved all six break points in the second set. From love-40 down, Rune calmed chaos coaxing return errors for a hard-fought hold to edge ahead 6-5.

Sinner stamped a love hold to send the second set into the tiebreaker.

The 2023 runner-up Rune boasted an 11-3 tiebreak record on the season, including taking two tiebreakers to subdue Dimitrov yesterday.

Controversy came again when a Sinner forehand was initially called out by the linesman, before chair umpire Dumusois inspected the mark and over-ruled calling the ball good.

That annoyed Rune who may well be even more ticked off when he learns Hawk-Eye, which is not 100 percent accurate itself, showed the shot was long. Replaying the point, Rune netted a return for 3-3.

Trying to attack the Miami Open champion’s backhand, Rune paid the price as Sinner swept a backhand bolt crosscourt pass for the first mini break and 5-3 lead.

A Sinner serve winner brough the world No. 2 double match point at 6-4.

A stubborn Rune repelled the first match point with a stunning 95 mph running forehand winner then coaxed a return error to save the second. Rune ripped another serve winner and snatched the tiebreaker when Sinner missed a backhand.

After all the drama, Rune forced a final set two minutes shy of two hours.

Even at 2-all in the decider, Rune smacked a smash for a break point then dumped a drop shot into the net to squander it. Sinner survived stress for 3-2.

Two hours, 35 minutes into the match, Sinner stepped inside the baseline and banged a backhand return winner for double break point.

The 20-year-old Rune blinked, coughing up his fifth double fault to surrender the break and a 5-3 lead to Sinner.

The second seed slammed a forehand strike down the line for 30-15. A running Rune forehand missed the mark giving Sinner a third match point.

One final wide serve ended it. Sinner stepped into his sixth straight semifinal sharing a respectful handshake with Rune after leveling their head-to-head series at 2-2.

While world No. 7 Rune will fall from the Top 10 for the first time since January of 2023 as a result of this loss, he should take encouragement with his effort, spirit and level of play this week.


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