In a highlight-filled and eventful matchup on Friday at the Stockholm Open, Stefanos Tsitsipas edged home favourite Mikael Ymer to reach his second straight ATP Tour semi-final.
The Greek saved 10 of 11 break points, including one at 5-5 in the opening set, as he did just enough to keep the Swede's charge at bay. Both men looked to attack early and often in the high-quality contest, combining for 57 net approaches, with each winning roughly two-thirds of his ventures forward. The pair also combined for 56 winners, Ymer striking 29 to his opponent's 27.
"It was not easy playing out here," Tsitsipas said of facing the Swede in front of his home crowd. "I really had to play good tennis, come up with some creative shots, and I'm very happy with the result.
"I had to really work hard for it. He came very close, getting kind of a small lead, but I stopped him. I was there, insisting, and persevered in the first set. It was such a crucial moment to go through, and I did that and the rest came."
After failing to serve out the opening set at 5-4, Tsitsipas took control by winning five straight games. His run began with his gutsy hold at 5-5 and ended with another battling service game in which he saved three break points for 3-0 in the second. Those would be the last break points he faced in the match as he saw home his advantage with strong serving.
Now 5-0 in his ATP Head2Head series against Ymer — each win coming in straight sets, including three at Grand Slams — Tsitsipas will next face Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori, a 6-1, 6-2 winner against third seed Frances Tiafoe in the day's final match on centre court.
"I'd like to congratulate Mikael on a great fight. [He's made a] big improvement since last time we played," said Tsitsipas. "I think he knows better of what he has been doing the last couple of months to get to that level."
A finalist two weeks ago in Astana, where he lost to Novak Djokovic, Tsitsipas is seeking his third ATP Tour title of the season following triumphs in Monte Carlo and Mallorca.