TORONTO • Greek tyro Stefanos Tsitsipas could not believe his eyes after his dream run at the Rogers Cup continued on Friday, as the teenager toppled Alexander Zverev 3-6, 7-6 (13-11), 6-4 to reach the semi-finals in Toronto.
"I'm confused now, is this real?" he said. "I can see that it's real - it's happening. I don't know what happened (in the second set), I just broke him (for 4-5). All along I could feel the crowd support, I knew I was still in the match.
"This shows that with dedication and work, dreams do come true."
The win over world No. 3 and defending champion Zverev looked unlikely when Tsitsipas, who turns 20 today, dropped the first set and fell behind 2-5 in the second.
But he managed to save two match points and shifted the momentum after edging out Zverev in a marathon second-set tiebreak.
Extending the match paid off for Tsitsipas, as Zverev made a number of uncharacteristic errors in a tight third set and the German handed the world No. 27 victory with a double fault on match point.
The win was Tsitsipas' third straight over a top-10 opponent and he became the youngest player to achieve the feat at a single tournament since Rafael Nadal, then 19, at Monte Carlo in 2006. He had dispatched Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic in the previous two rounds and faces South African Kevin Anderson next.
When speaking to reporters, Zverev, 21, was accused of poor sportsmanship after he failed to congratulate his opponent.
He said: "I don't even think he played that well. I think the match was absolutely pathetic on all levels. I'm very honest with you guys. Even if I would have won, it wasn't a good match. I lost a little bit of concentration, a little bit of rhythm."
Top seed Nadal came from behind to send hard-hitting Marin Cilic packing with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win in their quarter-final.
The world No. 1 was far from his best but took advantage of 43 unforced errors by the Croat Cilic, who converted just three of his 14 break-point opportunities.
"It is a very important victory. The match became so difficult," said the Spaniard, who will next play unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov. "It's a very good victory against a big opponent. It's confidence and another chance to play again tomorrow and that's great news. I'm excited about it."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
ATP ROGERS CUP
S-final 2 & Final StarHub Ch201, 8am & tomorrow, 4am