Holder Monfils beats Evans to reach Rotterdam semis

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (Reuters) – Frenchman Gael Monfils continued his excellent form to beat Briton Dan Evans 7-6(5) 6-2 and reach the Rotterdam Open semi-finals in the defence of his title on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Fourth Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 27, 2020 France’s Gael Monfils in action during his match against Austria’s Dominic Thiem REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The third seed won his ninth career title in Montpellier on Sunday and after a tight first set against the spirited Evans he made light work of his opponent in the second.

Monfils will meet Serb Filip Krajinovic or Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev, while Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta faces Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime in the other semi-final after both came through with narrow triumphs.

Carreno Busta overcame a gritty challenge from Italian Jannik Sinner to win 7-5 3-6 7-6(6) in a marathon clash.

The Spaniard squandered three match points while leading 5-4 in the final set before saving two himself at 6-4 down in the tiebreak to advance in two hours and 45 minutes.

“It was very tough mentally to continue fighting on every point,” said Carreno Busta, who won his third consecutive three-setter at the tournament. “I know that I lost a lot of opportunities to close out the match.

“I didn’t play good points, I was playing too slowly and not aggressively. But after that I continued fighting very well and saved two match points playing aggressively in the tiebreak. It was a very important match to win.”

Auger-Aliassime beat Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, despite being unwell and looking out of sorts, winning 6-4 7-6(6).

The 19-year-old broke Bedene at 5-4 to take the first set and looked firmly in control in the second before the Slovenian picked up his game to force a tiebreak with well executed points designed to tire out the struggling Auger-Aliassime.

However, the visibly exhausted Canadian managed to save a set point before winning the tiebreak and advancing to only his third career ATP 500 semi-final.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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