Tommy Paul advances to the Italian Open semifinals, his best result on clay

2024 05 16T140600Z 637727908 UP1EK5G135X7J RTRMADP 3 TENNIS ROME

Tommy Paul of the U.S. shakes hands with Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz after winning his quarter final match in the Italian Open on May 16, 2024.
| Photo Credit: Reuters

Tommy Paul has produced the biggest clay-court result of his career at the Italian Open. And he’s still going.

The American outlasted ninth-ranked Hubert Hurkacz 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 on Thursday to earn a spot in the semifinals at the Foro Italico, following up from a straight-set victory over defending champion Daniil Medvedev.

Paul broke the big-serving Hurkacz seven times but also dropped his own serve six times.

“My game plan coming in was, I got to get in as many of his service games as possible and try and get a couple of breaks. So on that aspect, I did very, very well today,” Paul said. “But my next match, I’m probably going to focus on holding serve a little bit more.”

Before beating Medvedev, Paul had never defeated a top-20 player on clay. Now he’s defeated two top-10 players back-to-back for the first time in his career — on any surface.

In the semifinals on Friday, the 16th-ranked Paul will face either Monte Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Nicolas Jarry, who were playing their quarterfinal later.

The other semifinal match will feature 2017 Rome champion Alexander Zverev against Alejandro Tabilo, who eliminated top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the third round.

Also later, the women’s semifinals featured top-ranked Iga Swiatek against U.S. Open champion Coco Gauff and second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka against Danielle Collins.

Paul is attempting to become the first American man to reach the Rome final since Andre Agassi won the trophy in 2002. Together with Gauff and Collins, there are three American semifinalists.

Rome is the last big warmup tournament before the French Open starts in 10 days and Paul has never been past the second round at Roland Garros.

Paul was better on the longer rallies than Hurkacz and twice came back from a break down in the deciding set.

Hurkacz eliminated record 10-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal in the second round.

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