09:40 PM GMT February 22, 2019
One month after making his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in the Melbourne heat, Stefanos Tsitsipas is finding his footing on the European indoor courts as well.
Greece's #NextGenATP star advanced to his second semi-final of the season on Friday, beating Ukrainian lucky loser Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-3 at the Open 13 Provence in Marseille.
“It was a good match from beginning to end. I played smart, held my nerves,” Tsitsipas said.
The 20-year-old World No. 12 had been 1-2 indoors this season, losing in the quarter-finals of the Sofia Open and in the first round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. But the top seed has found close to his best level in Marseille. Tsitsipas hasn't faced a break point or dropped a set through two matches.
“I know that I can play well, but the biggest challenge is to play even better, match by match,” he said.
Tsitsipas will face a familiar opponent for a place in the ATP 250 final in David Goffin, who beat sixth seed and home favourite Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-4. Tsitsipas and Goffin split their four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, with Goffin winning most recently in August at the Western & Southern Open, an ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati.
Goffin pressured Simon's serve throughout their quarter-final, converting three of his 10 break points while not facing a single break point on his own serve. "I felt well and had a good intensity. I served well too and played a very good first set. Gilles kept fighting, and it was a tough second set. I'm happy that I was able to win in two sets. I felt better and better the longer the match went on," Goffin said.
The Belgian is through to his first tour-level semi-final since Cincinnati last August, when he beat Tsitsipas in the first round. "[Tsitsipas] serves well, and he's confident at the moment. He's the top seed and the favourite in every match," Goffin said. "I like to be the outsider, and I've already beaten him. It will be a nice semi-final for the tournament."