Stefanos Tsitsipas overcomes Alexander Zverev to win five-set thriller and reach French Open final

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Stefanos Tsitsipas - Stefanos Tsitsipas overcomes Alexander Zverev to win five-set thriller and reach French Open final - AFP
Stefanos Tsitsipas - Stefanos Tsitsipas overcomes Alexander Zverev to win five-set thriller and reach French Open final - AFP

Stefanos Tsitsipas has become the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam singles final after beating Alexander Zverev in five dramatic sets.

The Greek, who has won more matches than any other player in 2021, has looked like a man on a mission all fortnight at Roland Garros and he appeared to be easing to victory when he opened up a two-set lead.

But Zverev seized the momentum and turned the tables completely, winning the third and fourth sets as he threatened a repeat of last year's US Open semi-final, when he came from two sets down to beat Pablo Carreno Busta.

Tsitsipas was 0-40 down in the opening game of the deciding set but he dug deep to hold and that proved the catalyst for a revival and a 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 victory.

Zverev saved four match points at 5-2 in the fifth, three with big serves and one with the bravest of drop shots, but Tsitsipas kept his nerve brilliantly to serve it out, holding his arms aloft in delight and relief.

05:06 PM

That's all folks

As far as semi-final matches go, you'll have to go far to find better.

But that was the starter before the main course because Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are now on court for their match. And you can follow that here.

Congratulations to Tsitsipas. Comisserations to Zverev.

04:53 PM

Emotional Tsitsipas

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04:41 PM

First time Grand Slam finalist

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04:38 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 Zverev

Tsitsipas forehand is just wide, 0-15. What a point and it ends with a defensive backhand by Zverev going long, 15-15.

Zverev lob is just long, 30-15. Zverev unforced error, 40-15. Two more match points.

Tsitsipas ace. GAME. SET. MATCH. History made.

04:35 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 5-3 Zverev*

Zverev nets a sliced backhand, 15-15. Zverev forehand wide, 30-15. Zverev backhand long, two match points for Tsitsipas.

Zverev saves the first. Then the second with a gutsy drop shot winner. Didn't see that coming.

Zverev nets a backhand, third match point. Zverev ace. Zverev forehand clips the net tape and flies wide, fourth match point. Huge Zverev first serve.

Tsitsipas nets a forehand on the stretch. If the match quality was low before it is at its highest now. Both players digging up.

And Zverev holds to keep his dreams alive for another game

04:24 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 5-2 Zverev

Tsitspas has found the level he had in the first two sets and Zverev can't live with it at the moment.

The Greek races to 40-0. But Zverev unleashes a huge forehand down the line winner.

Tsitsipas eventually holds and is now a game away.

04:20 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 4-2 Zverev*

Zverev ace, 40-0. That's followed by a double fault. Then another ace.

04:16 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 4-1 Zverev

Tsitsipas shanks a backhand, 15-30. Bad miss on the backhand from Zverev. He then puts a defensive slice long, 40-30.

04:13 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 3-1 Zverev*

Zverev double fault, 15-15. But he reacts well by hitting a lovely forehand winner down the line, 30-15.

Zverev forehand flies long, break point. And he cracks as he dumps a backhand into the net. Early break for Tsitsipas.

04:08 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 2-1 Zverev

Tsitsipas forehand winner, his 12th of the match, 15-0. Another makes it 40-0 and his finishes the game with an ace.

Very good from the Greek.

04:06 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 1-1 Zverev*

Zverev ace, 40-0. And he holds to 30.

04:01 PM

Fifth set: Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 1-0 Zverev

Early trouble again for Tsitsipas as Zverev hits an overhead winner, 0-30. Tsitsipas double fault. He is falling apart.

Three break points. Tsitsipas saves the first. And the second. And third. Massive fightback.

Tsitsipas chases down a Zverev drop half volley and finishes the point with a forehand winner. And he holds.

That could be a huge game.

03:52 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6 Zverev*

Zverev backhand into the net, 0-15. Reflex drop shot winner by Zverev, 15-15. Tsitsipas forehand return goes long, 30-15. Brilliant from Zverev to produce a stunning lob, two set points.

Zverev shanks a forehand. But we are going the distance as Tsitsipas put another return long.

03:46 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-5 Zverev

Problems for Tsitsipas as Zverev gets to 0-30 after a couple of errors. Bad miss by Zverev as he puts a forehand wide, 30-30.

Much needed forehand winner down the line by Tsitsipas, 40-30. And he holds with a cross court winner from the forehand side.

03:42 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 3-5 Zverev*

Tsitsipas is not offering much resistance on the Zverev serve. The German hasn't lost a point when he gets his first serve in. And he completes a third love game of the set.

03:40 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 3-4 Zverev

Tsitsipas keeps himself in the set with another hold. Zverev didn't having much impact on the return as he seems focused on holding his own serve.

03:38 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 2-4 Zverev*

Tsitsipas looks in the mood to break and takes the game to 30-30. But Zverev holds on.

03:31 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 2-3 Zverev

Zverev forehand winner, 40-15 but he goes long with another forehand to concede the game.

03:29 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 1-3 Zverev*

Zverev is rolling right now. He hits a goregous angled drop shot which Tsitispas doesn't move for and he holds to love as the Greek can't get the return back in play.

Zverev is yet to drop a point on serve in this set.

03:25 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 1-2 Zverev

Much needed service hold for Tsitsipas as he tries to weather this storm from Zverev.

03:22 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 0-2 Zverev*

A love hold for Zverev to consolidate. Tsitsipas has already hit six unforced errors in the set. He's gone AWOL mentally.

03:18 PM

Fourth set: Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 0-1 Zverev

Tsitsipas is the looser player right now and Zverev clearly has the mometum as the Greek crumbles and loses his serve.

03:13 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 4-6 Zverev*

An ace from Zverev to start the game. Huge slice of fortune for Zverev as he mis-hits an overhead and the balls just drops over, 30-0.

Zverev volley winner, three set points. Tsitsipas misses and we have a game on now. Into the fourth set we go.

03:06 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 4-5 Zverev

Tsitsipas forehand is called out but the umpire checks the line and says the ball was in, 30-15. Zverev is furious claiming he had a play on the ball and the point should be replayed.

Tsitsipas keeps his composure to move ahead and hits an ace to complete the game.

03:01 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 3-5 Zverev*

Back to back backhand errors by Zverev. Very careless. Big point coming now. And a big first serve by Zverev.

And then an ace, back to 30-30. And Zverev seals the game with a forehand winner.

02:56 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 3-4 Zverev

Tsitsipas volley winner to open the game. But he then puts a backhand wide. Back-to-back unforced errors by Zverev make it 40-15.

And a forehand winner to finish the game.

02:53 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 2-4 Zverev*

Chance for Tsitsipas but his forehand clips the top of the net and goes wide, 15-30. But Tsitsipas gives Zverev a tough volley to hit and the German duly makes the error. Break point.

Timely 221 lm/h first serve by Zverev. Deuce. Zverev backhand winner down the line. And he holds serve. Big hold.

02:46 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 2-3 Zverev

Tsitsipas ace, 15-15. Drop volley winner by the Greek, 30-15. Zverev puts a backhand return long, 40-15.

And another ace to close out the game. Very effient.

02:44 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 1-3 Zverev*

Good hold by Zverev to maintain his lead in the set.

02:38 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 1-2 Zverev

Tsitsipas forehand wide, 30-30. Then a volley wide, break point. And the momentum switches again as Tsitsipas puts a forehand wide. Very sloppy game.

02:34 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3, 1-1 Zverev*

Tsitsipas goes just long with a backhand down the line, 30-15. But he goes on the attack once again with the forehand and is rewarded, 30-30.

Zverev volley winner, 40-30. But he nets a forehand. Deuce. Zverev ends the streak with a blistering cross court backhand winner.

02:28 PM

Third set: Tsitsipas* 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 Zverev

Seven games in a row now as Tsitsipas finishes off this service game with a forehand winner.

The Greek is full of confidence right now.

02:21 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-3 Zverev*

Zverev is looking very frazzled at the moment. And he hits a drive backhand volley wide to give Tsitsipas a set point.

Tsitsipas error, back to deuce. Second set point as Zverev nets a backhand. And it is six games in a row as Zverev puts a forehand long. The Greek is a set away from his first Grand Slam final.

02:16 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 5-3 Zverev

Freak moment as Tsitsipas hits a first serve and loses hold of his racket. But Zverev can't get the return in court, 40-15.

And Tsitsipas holds again. He's a game away from a two set lead.

02:11 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-3 Zverev*

Stunning defence from Tsitsipas to keep himself in the rally and he puts away the volley, 0-30.

Patience and aggression then a volley winner gives Tsitsipas two more break points. Zverev saves the first with an 88mp/h backhand winner down the line.

A tense rally between the two men ends when Zverev's forehand clips the net and goes wide. Four games in a row now.

02:05 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 3-3 Zverev

Another forehand mis-hit from Tsitsipas, 30-15. But he forces Zverev wide and gets the error, 40-15. Tsitsipas forehand wide, 40-30. And we are back level.

02:01 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 2-3 Zverev*

Zverev gets to 30-0 but hits his fourth double fault and puts a backhand wide to make it 30-30. Zverev then gets unlucky with the net cord as his backhand clips it and flies wide. Break point Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas unforced error, deuce. Zverev misses a forehand, second break point. He then misses a backhand and we are back on serve. What was I saying about the lack of quality?!

01:58 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 1-3 Zverev

Tsitsipas's turn to get himself back into the set with a straight forward service game.

01:53 PM

Tsitsipas 6-3, 0-3 Zverev*

Exact same situation as the first set as Zverev holds serve to consolidate. The quality level isn't high at the moment with both players clearly nervous.

01:48 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3, 0-2 Zverev

Tsitsipas shanks a forehand into the crowd, 15-15. Chance for Zverev now as he gets the better of a duel at the net.

Big forehand into the corner by Tsitsipas but Zverev responds with a big backhand to get his first break point of the match. And he does break when Tsitsipas puts a forehand long. Bad error.

01:43 PM

Second set: Tsitsipas 6-3, 0-1 Zverev*

Zverev can't afford to have another poor start and he moves to 30-0 with a drive forehand winner.

An ace makes it 40-0. And he holds with a volley winner.

01:39 PM

Tsitsipas* 6-3 Zverev

Longest rally of the match ends with Tsitsipas netting a backhand, 30-30. 10 unforced errors each for both men.

Set point Tsitsipas. But he goes wide with a forehand. Deuce. Another set point and this time he gets the set after 37 minutes as Zverev puts a backhand wide.

01:34 PM

Tsitsipas 5-3 Zverev*

A third double fault by Zverev to make it 40-30. But he follows that up with a 218km/h first serve to hold.

Pressure on Tsitsipas to serve it out now.

01:29 PM

Tsitsipas* 5-2 Zverev

Positive body language from Tsitisipas on each point he wins and as he holds to 30, the Greek is fist pumping to his support box.

01:25 PM

Tsitsipas 4-2 Zverev*

When Zverev's serve is firing it is a formidable weapon. The German is starting to settle as he holds to love.

01:22 PM

Tsitsipas* 4-1 Zverev

Zverev is being outclassed at the moment with Tsitsipas in total control of the match.

Tsitsipas holds to love easily.

01:20 PM

Tsitsipas 3-1 Zverev*

Zverev gets himself into the match with a hold of serve to 30.

01:14 PM

Tsitsipas* 3-0 Zverev

It is not a break of serve unless you consolidate and Tsitsipas is pushed to 40-30 by Zverev. Tsitsipas is then given a 25 second time violation by the umpire.

But he holds to build a big lead.

01:09 PM

Tsitsipas 2-0 Zverev*

Back-to-back double faults from Zverev, 15-30. Tsitsipas then gets his man on the run and draws the error. Two break points.

The first is saved with an ace. But not the second as Zverev puts a forehand wide. Early break for Tsitispas.

01:05 PM

First set: Stefanos Tsitsipas* 1-0 Alexander Zverev (*denotes server)

Tsitsipas won the toss and opted to serve first. And he makes a fast start, getting to 30-0.

But the Greek double faults to make it 30-30. Then a backhand long makes it deuce.

However he holds to start the match.

12:59 PM

Game on

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12:56 PM

The players are out

Tsitsipas and Zverev walk on to a warm reception for the crowd.

It's a blazing hot day in Paris.

12:50 PM

Good afternoon!

Hello and welcome to men's semi-final day at the French Open.

It promises to be a dramatic day at Roland Garros and it all begins with Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Alexander Zverev.

Tsitsipas leads the head-to-head 5-2 but both have had strong performances on the clay this season.

Tennis fans have long waited for consistent performances from Tsitsipas and Zverev in the Slams and they are two wins away from a maiden major title.

And speaking ahead of the match, six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker believes the showdown will be a mental battle.

"Now it's a mental thing: Who will stay cooler? Who has the greater will? Tsitsipas can do everything quite well," he said.

"I can't find any weaknesses, especially on clay - whether it's his serve, groundstrokes or fitness. And he feels comfortable on the big stage. I see the two of them fighting for the crown together with Medvedev over the next few years. So this is just the first of many more big matches between Tsitsipas and Zverev.

"For me, Zverev has the most power. When he hits, there's no stopping him. But he can only do that when he's relatively close to the baseline and plays a bit more offensively. That's the difference to all the others who are still in the tournament. But he has to do it.

"In the quarterfinal, he was a bit too passive in my opinion, he played too long rallies. If he acts a little more offensively, a little more risky, maybe he'll make a few more mistakes, but then he can beat any player in the world.

"I'm not a clairvoyant, but the top favorite for me remains Nadal, that hasn't changed. At some point, the successors have to come. Nadal can't rule Paris forever. I also see that Djokovic can win such a tournament, but Tsitsipas and Zverev are also almost on a par.

"For me, it's just a question of time."