French Open: Jannik Sinner to become new world No 1 after booking semi-final with Carlos Alcaraz | Tennis News

Jannik Sinner stepped up his bid for a second Grand Slam title by securing a a 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-3) victory over Grigor Dimitrov to reach the French Open semi-finals.

Although he didn’t know it at the time, the 22-year-old will also become the new world No 1 next week, regardless of who wins the French Open, after defending champion Novak Djokovic pulled out with a knee injury before his quarter-final match.

Sinner quickly earned a double break over 10th seed Dimitrov, hardly breaking sweat when taking the opening set.

Italy's Jannik Sinner plays a shot against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov during their quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Italy’s Jannik Sinner will become the new world No 1 regardless of whether he wins the French Open or not

Things started to become a bit trickier thereafter, the Italian struggling with a back twinge during the second set that hampered his progress.

Despite the issue, Sinner still claimed the second 6-4 and edged out Dimitrov in a third-set tie-break despite blowing the chance to clinch victory sooner when broken by the Bulgarian as he served for the match.

Sinner said after his win: “It means a lot to me for sure. It’s not the way we all were expecting actually. He had two very long matches, tough matches, five sets, so it’s tough. The first one he finished really late also.

“You know, it’s tough also for the tournament. Novak [Djokovic] retiring, it’s always tough. Talking about myself, I am very happy about this achievement. It’s a lot of work we put in daily. It’s a daily routine. Obviously I’m happy to have this number.

Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates as he won the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Tuesday, June 4, 2024. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Can Jannik Sinner add to his Australian Open win from earlier in the season?

“In two days there is a very important match for me, the semi-finals, so I’m focused about that at the moment. But, yes, of course, very happy to have this number now.”

Alcaraz sets up Sinner semi-final showdown

Sinner will play fellow young gun Carlos Alcaraz, who until last September was world No 1 himself.

Alcaraz claimed he had the “key” to beating Stefanos Tsitsipas ahead of their night session quarter-final, then was true to his word as he overpowered the Greek ninth seed 6-3 7-6 (3) 6-4.

Tsitsipas made a brief fight of things in the second set, and complained of hindrance to the umpire following one elongated Alcaraz grunt during the tie-break.

But a double-fault midway through the third set gifted Alcaraz the initiative and the Spaniard duly took his head-to-head with Tsitsipas to six wins from six matches.

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates during his fourth round match of the French Open tennis tournament against Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Carlos Alcaraz has only dropped one set on his way to the semi-finals

“I think it was a very good match, I played great,” Alcaraz said. “I controlled very well my emotions and was really calm in the moments I had to be. I’m really happy to play a semi-final here in Roland Garros.

“Jannik will be a really difficult challenge, right now he’s the best player in the world, the player playing the best tennis right now. We’ve played some great, great matches. Thanks to him I push myself to be a better player, to improve my game to try to beat him. I’m ready to take that challenge.”

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