Tennis: Tsitsipas moves into Monte Carlo semis as Davidovich limps out

Stefanos Tsitsipas (top) shaking hands with Alejandro Davidovich after the latter withdrew from the match, at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 16, 2021.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (top) shaking hands with Alejandro Davidovich after the latter withdrew from the match, at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 16, 2021.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MONACO (AFP) - Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday (April 16) when his quarter-final opponent Alejandro Davidovich withdrew after losing the first set 7-5.

Tsitsipas, the world No. 5 will play his sixth Masters 1000 semi-final on Saturday, and his first in the principality, against Englishman Dan Evans, the conqueror of Novak Djokovic, who battled past Belgian David Goffin 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 .

Struggling with an injury to his left thigh, Spaniard Davidovich tried an underarm serve when facing set point. Tsitsipas pounced to hit a winning backhand return.

Until he was hurt, Davidovich gave his Greek opponent problems.

But at 3-3, Davidovich called for the doctor to treat his left thigh. He immediately managed the first break of the match, as Tsitsipas began to show signs of irritation, to the point of receiving a warning for swearing.

“The level of play was high at the beginning,” said Tsitsipas. “We played a lot of long rallies, and the intensity was high in every one of them.”

Tsitsipas immediately broke back and as Davidovich struggled, broke again to end the set and the match.

“I noticed he was hurt. His leg was hurting. But I didn’t want to think about it, I tried to pretend he wasn’t injured and keep playing as I was doing,” said Tsitsipas.

He added: “I had to do what I had to do: force him to run and work on every point. At the end of the day, he wasn’t able to play me until the end.”

Meanwhile, Venus Williams has accepted a wild-card invitation to play the Madrid Open which starts on April 29, organisers said on Friday.

The 40-year-old American last played the tournament in 2018 and reached the final in 2010, losing to Aravane Rezai.

That year she won the doubles at the event with her sister Serena.

"I am delighted to be able to return to Madrid to begin my clay-court season," said Venus Williams, quoted in the organisers' press release.

Along with the American, the Madrid field includes Australian world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Japanese Naomi Osaka, Romanian Simona Halep and Czech Karolina Pliskova.