The quarterfinals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament were played on Friday as second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, fourth seed Andrey Rublev, Borna Coric and Marton Fucsovics all advanced to the semifinals.
Second and fourth seeds advance, joined by unseeded Croat and Hungarian
Tsitsipas needed two hours, 42 minutes to knock out Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in their quarterfinal clash. It was the Russian who overcame an early 2-0 deficit to seal the opening set in 46 minutes.
The Greek then jumped out to a 5-0 in the second, watched Khachanov win three consecutive games and then finally closed out the set in the next game to force a third.
It was the Russian who struck first in the decider, jumping out to a 3-1 lead only to see Tsitsipas fight back and at 5-5, he broke the world number 21 for a 6-5 lead before closing out the match a game later.
"He was playing great tennis and I wasn't sure if I would be able to compete", he said following the match. "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."
Rublev came through a difficult challenge against French qualifier Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (2), 6-7 (2), 6-4 in two hours, 39 minutes to win his 18th straight match at ATP Tour 500 events.
After saving a set point trailing 6-5 in the first set, the Russian found himself with four set points in the tiebreaker after double faults from Chardy and he clinched it with a short backhand slice that forced an error.
Chardy then jumped out to a 3-0, double break lead in the second set only to watch as Rublev stormed back to level at 4-4 and after saving two match points at 5-6, 15-40 the Frenchman fired powerful serves, ripped forehand winners and rushed his opponent to win 11 of the next 13 points and force a deciding set.
The third set went much the way the second did only this time it was Rublev who claimed the 3-0 double break edge and after watching Chardy gain one of the breaks back, he fired an ace down the T on his fourth match point to close things out.
"It was a really tough match against Jeremy", he said in his on-court interview. "He is shooting really hard, he is serving really hard...[in the first set ite-break] I played a bit better than him. He made a couple of mistakes.
"In the second [set] I didn't start really well. I managed to somehow come back and then I didn't make it when I had the chances. I had match points. We went to a third set and then I started really well.
"To serve for the match is not always easy. There was drama in the end. He had one break point, but In the end I managed to win so I am really happy."
Coric fired 11 aces and saved eight of 10 break points in a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) victory over Kei Nishikori. The Croat has not dropped a set all week en route to the semifinals as he became the first unseeded player to defeat the Japanese in an ATP 500 event.
Fucsovics continues his impressive play as he knocked off unseeded American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-3 in an hour, 42 minutes and will face Coric in the semifinals. The Hungarian qualifier will attempt to reach his first final since 2019 in Sofia.
Mektic/Pavic, Kontinen/Roger-Vasselin seal semifinal berths in doubles
In the other quarterfinal match contested, Tsitsipas returned to the court with his brother Petros to take on Henri Kontinen and Edouard Roger-Vasselin with the Finnish-French duo coming out on top 6-2, 7-6 (4).