Germany’s Jan Leonard Struff said there was no way he could predict how his two-week stay in Madrid would turn out.
In a remarkable full-circle moment, Struff will face the man who beat him in the semifinals of the Madrid Open.
Strouf entered the main draw as a lucky loser, but he made good on that second chance by defeating the likes of Lorenzo Sonigo, Ben Shelton and in the last eight, Stephanos Tsitsipas.
«It’s been an amazing journey here,» Struff said. “Last week I lost against Aslan and I never thought we would meet in the semi-finals.
«I played a good game [against Tsitsipas]. He was better in the first set, I somehow won the set, I stayed in the service games. I have served well in important times.
«The third set I came out and I was pushed out of my box and I played a very aggressive game style, that was the key today.»
Struff will qualify for the draw and will have the experience of losing and will be good for a chance at his first Masters Series final.
“Aslan has been playing brilliantly this week, and he’s easily beaten me on the merits I have to say. I didn’t play my best tennis in that match, but it made me play like I wasn’t good,” Struff said.
«I think we have to analyze now, focus on the game tomorrow and I hope to do better.»
Struff believes maintaining the attack was key to defeating Tsitsipas.
He was serving well throughout the match and it was very difficult to break into points. But somehow I won the first set,” said Struff. «I felt better in the first set. I got out of a lot of trouble. He won 4/1 in the final.
“I thought I played. [in] The second made a very good set, but I played a bad game at 5-all. And in the third set I came out aggressive again and it was a big win for me.
Karatev reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final with a 7-6(3), 6-4 win over China’s Zhang Zhizhen.
“I am happy with my situation. Let’s go back to the top,» Karatesev said. «Playing well and feeling good. Since the qualifiers, match by match, it’s become more difficult, so mentally you have to be there more. Because your opponent doesn’t give any free points, you have to be yourself. The main thing is to recover well now.
Carlos Alcaraz will face Karen Kachanov in the other semi-final.