Carlos Alcaraz continued his brilliant season by getting the better of Tsitsipas in Barcelona Open quarterfinal.
After cruising past countryman Jaume Munar earlier in the day, the 18-year-old overcame a late charge from the top seed to reach his fourth semi-final of the season with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 victory.
Alcaraz looked on course for a relatively smooth win after going up by a set and a double break but needed to regroup after the Monte Carlo Masters champion started to mount a comeback in the middle of the second set.
The Spaniard jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the decider, after scoring a momentum-shifting break to open the set.
In their first clay-court meeting, both men backed up strong serving with vicious groundstrokes as they battled to 4-all in the opening set without giving each other a sniff of a break chance.
It was Alcaraz who made his move in the ninth game as a drop shot left the Greek stranded after going down three break points at 0/40.
Alcaraz won 12 of the last 13 points in the second set and it seemed Alcaraz would cruise to win as he rode a wave of winners to a double break lead.
But Tsitsipas gradually worked his way back into the match after he broke at love for 4-1.
The Greek reeled off four straight games to get back on serve and an Alcaraz error-handed Tsitsipas parity.
Alcaraz left the court for a comfort break before the third set and returned with a fresh focus. A jumping fist pump punctuated his break of serve to open the decider as he played to the home support.
Tsitsipas left the court himself after falling behind 0-3 but was assessed two separate point penalties for the mid-set break and a time violation.
Down 0-4, Tsitsipas summoned one last surge to create two break points at 1-4 but was foiled by the defense of Alcaraz.
The Spaniard followed some lightning-fast retrieving with a bevy of backhand winners to move ahead 5-1, then served out the match.
The Miami Open champion will face 10th seed Alex de Minaur in Saturday’s Barcelona Open semis as he seeks a third trophy of the 2022 season.
Each of the three ATP Head2Head matchups in this blossoming rivalry has been thrillers of supreme quality, with Alcaraz edging the Greek on all three occasions.
With the win Alcaraz officially enters the ATP Top 10 on Monday, eerily he will do so at the same age, on the same date, and following the same tournament as fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2005.