06:16 PM GMT April 27, 2018
#NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas recorded the biggest win of his career on Friday to reach the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell semi-finals. The 19-year-old capitalised on lapses in concentration from World No. 7 Dominic Thiem, who consistently played deep behind the baseline, to win 6-3, 6-2 in 80 minutes.
Tsitsipas, who is currently No. 7 in the ATP Race To Milan for a spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November, will next challenge fifth-seeded Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who defeated second seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria.
Thiem came with a point of clinching a double-break advantage for 3-0, but let Tsitsipas back into their third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting of 2018 (Qatar ExxonMobil Open, BNP Paribas Open). Thiem hit a double fault at 3-4, 30/40, and then saw Tsitsipas close out the 50-minute opener with a forehand approach winner.
Two consecutive forehand errors by Thiem at 2-2, in a game of four unforced errors, handed Tsitsipas the first break of the second set. Two games later, Thiem gifted Tsitsipas with another service break with a backhand error. The World No. 63 won the last 14 points of the match with a hold to love, finishing with a backhand that Thiem couldn’t scramble back.
Tsitsipas had previously recorded the first Top 10 win over his career over No. 10-ranked David Goffin in October 2017 at the European Open in Antwerp.
Thiem, who reached last week’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-finals (l. to Nadal) leaves Barcelona with a 21-6 match record on the season, which includes the Argentina Open crown (d. Bedene).
Later in the afternoon, Carreno Busta also reached his first Barcelona semi-final by beating second seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-3, 7-6(4) in one hour and 37 minutes.
Carreno Busta edged the first set, which featured six service breaks, and took a 4/2 advantage in the second set tie-break when Dimitrov hit a backhand slice into the net. The pair’s sixth meeting (3-3) ended with Dimitrov striking a forehand long.
World No. 11 Carreno Busta is now 3-22 lifetime against opponents in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings (2-9 on clay). Dimitrov, last week’s Monte-Carlo semi-finalist, drops to a 16-8 mark on the season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Stefanos Tsitsipas started the 2018 season at No. 91 in the ATP Rankings and this week is at a career-high No. 63. After beating Thiem, he has a 2-4 record against Top 10 stars.