Barcelona, April 24 (IANS) World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas made it to the final of the Barcelona Open, defeating Italy’s Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 in the ATP 500 event on Saturday. The Greek will take on the winner of the semi-final between Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Pablo Carreno Busta.
It was at the same venue three years ago that Tsitsipas had made a major breakthrough, reaching his maiden ATP Tour final.
The reigning Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion saved all four break points he faced to improve his unbeaten record on clay this year to 9-0.
“It was very close. It was a close match,” Tsitsipas told the ATP Tour site. “He (Sinner) had a lot of break point opportunities on my serve. It could have been different, but I stayed tough and I converted those break points (I had). That was crucial and very important.”
After taking a 2-1 lead in his ATP head-to-head series against Sinner, Tsitsipas has now matched Russian Andrey Rublev’s tour-leading total of 26 victories this season.
Tsitsipas and Rublev are eight wins clear of their nearest ATP Tour rivals, with Sinner in third position on the 2021 wins list.
Tsitsipas now awaits the winner of the all-Spanish semi-final between 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and Pablo Carreno Busta.
Tsitsipas has a 2-6 ATP head-to-head record against Nadal, which includes his final loss to the Mallorcan in the 2018 Barcelona final. The Greek holds a 2-0 advantage against Carreno Busta.
“It feels great to be back (in the final). I will try to redeem myself from last time…I am looking forward to whoever I have to play,” said Tsitsipas. “A final is always a very important phase in a tournament.”
In a tight opening set, both players were unable to convert early break points. Tsitsipas made the only breakthrough of the set at 4-3, when he attacked Sinner’s forehand to extract multiple errors and break serve. Sinner struck eight of his 11 unforced errors in the first set on his forehand side.