The unlikely triumph of “Lucky Loser” Jan-Lennard Struff in Madrid continues – and at the age of 33 leads him to the semifinals of a Masters tournament for the first time.
The Warsteiner, who had actually already failed in the qualification, defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece), fifth in the world rankings, in the quarter-finals 7:6 (7:5), 5:7, 6:3. In a semi-final of the outsiders, Struff now has to deal with the Russian qualifier Aslan Karazew.
Struff played with confidence against the two-time Grand Slam finalist Tsitsipas, he didn’t let his opponent’s three breakballs and a 1: 4 in the tie-break disturb him in the first set.
With his courageous, variable game, the veteran kept the second set open for a long time. And he didn’t collapse in the decision-making process either – on the contrary: Struff got the Greek’s serve for the first time in the match to make it 3-1 and converted his second match ball after 2:30 hours.
On Wednesday, Daniel Altmaier (Kempen), who had also surprisingly reached the round of the top eight in the Caja Magica, was eliminated. On Tuesday, Germany’s number one Alexander Zverev had no chance against defending champion Carlos Alcaraz in a repeat of last year’s final with 1: 6, 2: 6.
Struff, who was number 29 in the world almost three years ago, had to wait a long time for such a sense of achievement. The return to the top of the world was difficult. In March 2022 he broke his toe in Miami, the Warsteiner missed the entire clay court season and slipped far down the world rankings. Now he’s already assured of a return to the top 40.