Jannik Sinner may have lost his Italian Open quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, but the tennis star was a winner in the eyes of fans.
Local hope Sinner went down 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 to World No.5 Tsitsipas, in a match which was stopped for over 10 minutes at match point after a spectator fell ill.
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On the verge of defeat, Sinner noticed that someone in the crowd appeared to have collapsed, as he motioned for the umpire to stop play.
The official seemed to want to let the match continue, sparking loud whistles and jeers from the crowd in Rome.
However, Sinner was insistent on helping the distressed fan and even gathered a number of bottles of water to be taken to the person up in the stands.
What seemed like an age passed before the spectator was eventually stretchered out of centre court and play could resume.
Tsitsipas finally served his match point and promptly booked a spot in the semi-finals with a simple pass from Sinner’s miscalculated drop shot.
The Greek star has already won the Monte Carlo Masters this season and will face Alexander Zverev, who made the semis after comfortably seeing off Cristian Garin, the only unseeded player left in the tournament, 7-5, 6-2.
It will be the third time in the space of a month that the German will meet the Greek in the last four, with the pair sharing the honours from clashes in Monte Carlo and Madrid.
Novak Djokovic on cusp of 1000th career win
Meantime, Novak Djokovic took his place in the last four in Rome with a 7-5 7-6 (7/1) win over Felix Auger-Aliassime which guaranteed that he would remain World No.1 for a 370th week.
Top seed Djokovic is chasing a sixth title in Rome ahead of Roland Garros later this month, and needed more than two hours to win a match which featured some magnificent tennis from big-hitting Auger-Aliassime.
Djokovic showed touches of class, exemplified by a lob at the end of a thrilling rally which broke Auger-Aliassime’s serve in game six of the second set to move the 35-year-old 4-2 ahead.
Auger-Aliassime brought the crowd to their feet by fighting back to take the set to a tie-break, where his brave resistance finally met its end.
Djokovic takes on Norway’s Casper Ruud where he can claim his 1,000th ATP career victory on way to the final.
Ruud booked his spot in the semi-finals courtesy of a hard-fought 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 win over Canada’s Denis Shapovalov.
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