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Tsitsipas to Pass Federer for No. 5 in rankings, Rublev also Advances in Rotterdam ATP Tennis

Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas will face No. 4-seeded Andrey Rublev for a place in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament final. EPA-EFE/KOEN SUYK

By Ricky Dimon

It hasn’t been easy for Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, but he has managed to win three matches so far this week. His reward is not only a berth in the semifinals of the season’s first 500-point tournament, but also a ranking of No. 5 in the world this coming Monday. Tsitsipas will leapfrog Roger Federer, who has not played in more than a year but will return at next week’s Dubai Duty Free Championships.

Tsitsipas continued his Rotterdam run with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Karen Khachanov on Friday afternoon. The Greek improved to 3-0 lifetime in the head-to-head series but needed two hours and 42 minutes to do so.

It has been a grueling week for Tsitsipas, who beat Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 after more than two hours during second-round action. He also has the doubles quarterfinals with his brother later on Friday. Thus the grind continues following his battle with Khachanov.

“He was playing great tennis and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to compete,” Tsitsipas said of the unseeded Russian. “I had an amazing 5-0 lead in the second set and that brought a lot of confidence into my game.

“We had great rallies and the quality of tennis was excellent. You need to stay as calm as possible in three-setters. I have won a lot in the past and with experience, it gives me an idea of how to play in these tight moments.”

Andrey Rublev scored his 18th straight ATP 500 win. EPA-EFE/KOEN SUYK

There were plenty of tight moments in the second quarterfinal of the day, as well. Qualifier Jeremy Chardy was not about to end his productive stay in the Netherlands without a fight, and he threw everything he had at world No. 8 Andrey Rublev. Chardy saved two match points from 5-6, 15-40 down in the second set and forced a third before falling 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 6-4 in two hours and 39 minutes.

Rublev struck 15 aces without double-faulting a single time. The world No. 8 was broken four times, but he made up for it with five breaks of his own.

“It was a really tough match against Jeremy,” said Rublev, who will face Tsitsipas on Saturday. “It was a bit of drama in the end…. I will try as much as I can to be ready for tomorrow. Stefanos had two tough matches and now he has to play doubles. It’s not easy, but that’s the sport like this. We have to accept it.”

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.