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Alcaraz beats Tsitsipas to set up Sinner semi-final

Carlos Alcaraz raises his fist in celebration at the 2024 French Open
Carlos Alcaraz, who reached the semi-finals last year, is bidding for his first French Open title [Getty Images]

Carlos Alcaraz made light work of Stefanos Tsitsipas to set up a tantalising French Open semi-final against incoming world number one Jannik Sinner.

Spanish third seed Alcaraz, 21, won 6-3 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 against Greek ninth seed Tsitsipas on the Roland Garros clay.

It was the second year running that Alcaraz had dismantled 2021 runner-up Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals at the Paris major.

The reigning Wimbledon champion has now won all six of his career meetings against Tsitsipas.

Meanwhile, second seed Sinner continued his pursuit of a second straight Grand Slam title by comfortably seeing off Grigor Dimitrov earlier on Tuesday.

The Australian Open champion won 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-3) against the Bulgarian 10th seed and found out after the match he is set to move top of the ATP rankings.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic pulled out before his quarter-final with a leg injury, meaning he will be replaced by 22-year-old Sinner when the latest rankings are released next week.

"It's every player's dream to become number one in the world," said Sinner, who will become the first Italian to lead the men's rankings since they were introduced in 1973.

"On the other hand, seeing Novak retiring [from the tournament] is disappointing, so I wish him a speedy recovery."

Djokovic's withdrawal means there will be a new name etched on the Coupe des Mousquetaires after Sunday's men's singles final.

Who that will turn out to be is still anyone's guess, but Alcaraz strengthened his claims with another impressive win.

Alcaraz, whose other major triumph came at the 2022 US Open, arrived at Roland Garros with an arm injury which limited his preparations on the European clay courts.

Despite still wearing a protective arm sleeve, the problem seems behind him as he continues to smoothly move through the gears.

Alcaraz made a rapid start by breaking a nervous-looking Tsitsipas in the first game of the night session match and backing that up with a comfortable hold to love.

Tsitsipas famously blamed last year's one-sided defeat - where he trailed 6-1 6-2 5-1 before losing the third-set in a tie-break - on taking melatonin pills to facilitate an afternoon snooze.

While he did look sharper as he settled down, Tsitsipas still did not pose enough questions of Alcaraz and a terrible service game at 5-3 handed over the opening set after just 31 minutes.

Things threatened to run away from the Greek in a woeful start to the second set.

Angrily chuntering at his box and losing focus, Tsitsipas quickly fell 3-0 behind but rallied to take the set into a tie-break.

However, Alcaraz upped his level again to secure a two-set lead and was gifted another decisive break for a 4-3 lead, in what had been a tighter third, when Tsitsipas produced his second double fault of the game.

"It was a very good match, I played great. I controlled my emotions and I was really calm in the moments I had to be," said Alcaraz.

Relentless Sinner ends Dimitrov run

Jannik Sinner playing at French Open
Sinner has reached the French Open semi-finals for the first time [Getty Images]

On a blustery Court Philippe Chatrier, Sinner appeared focused on just his second quarter-final appearance at the clay-court Grand Slam.

Having secured his first major title in Melbourne earlier this year, Sinner added titles in Rotterdam and Miami, where he beat Dimitrov in the final and reached a career-high world ranking of second.

This was a first quarter-final appearance at Roland Garros for Dimitrov and the 33-year-old, 11 years his opponent's senior, looked uncomfortable throughout the first set.

He struggled to cope with Sinner's relentless power, batting the Italian's forehand away with a weak backhand to concede the first break before saving three break points but relenting on the fourth to go a double break down.

The second set started much the same with Sinner crunching a forehand down the line to steal Dimitrov's serve in the opening game and that was all he needed to eventually take a two-set lead.

Dimitrov managed to avoid another disastrous start in the third set, fending off break point to hold from deuce.

Words of encouragement continued to shower down from his coaches but Sinner showed why he will soon be the highest-ranked player in the world by capitalising on a poor service game from the Bulgarian at 4-4 to break and have the chance to serve for the match.

Dimitrov picked that moment to switch it on, immediately breaking back and forcing a tie-break, but his late surge was to no avail as Sinner steamed ahead to dominate the tie-break and prevent a fourth set.