He may not have played at the level he wanted at the final in Rome, but Stefanos Tsitsipas made a profit from his presence there.
In combination with the early exclusion of last year’s winner, Rafael Nadal, Tsitsipas climbed to No. 4 in the world rankings and even created a difference of 645 points from the Spaniard, a week before Roland Garros.
The top three remained unchanged (Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev), while consistently at No. 6 is Carlos Alcaraz who preferred to rest before the grand slam and did not go down to Rome.
Casper Ruud climbed to No. 8, while Félix Auger-Aliassime and Matteo Berrettiniclose the 10th, with the latter not going down to Paris as he is still recovering from the operation he underwent.
As for the race for the ATP Finals, Tsitsipas is at No. 2 at the moment and is only behind Nadal by just 130 points, with Alkarath being within breathing distance.
Stefanos Tsitsipas fell in the Internazionali d’Italia final on Sunday against the Novak Djokovic, but it was another impressive week from the Greek star. The 23-year-old is now up to second in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin, trailing first-placed Rafael Nadal by just 130 points.
A victory against Djokovic at the Foro Italico would have sent the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion into first, ahead of Nadal. Despite the loss, he will enter Roland Garros in the top two in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin for the second consecutive year (nobody competing this week in Geneva or Lyon can catch him).
Tsitsipas is trying to qualify for the season finale for the fourth consecutive year. This season’s Nitto ATP Finals will be held from 13-20 November.
The man who defeated him at the Foro Italico, Djokovic, soared 18 places into 10th in the Race. Entering the week, the Serbian had just 610 points. But by claiming a record-extending 38th ATP Masters 1000 title, he added 1,000 points to his total to move into the thick of the Race.
Djokovic is just five points behind ninth-placed Casper Ruud and 155 points behind eighth-placed Taylor Fritz, who is attempting to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime moved into fourth as he also pursues a maiden appearance at the year-end championships. The 21-year-old reached the quarter-finals in Rome, where Djokovic ousted him in a tight two-setter.
Auger-Aliassime has now made the quarter-finals in four consecutive tournaments and lifted his first ATP Tour trophy earlier this year in Rotterdam.
Defending Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, who also triumphed at the season finale in 2018, climbed to fifth in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin after advancing to the Rome semi-finals. The German trails Auger-Aliassime by just 45 points.
Maria Sakkari is stable at No. 4
In the ranking of women, not the slightest thing changed in the Top 5. Sakkari remains at No. 4, with Iga Świątek having created a chaotic difference from No. 2, of the order of 2,150 points.
Barbora Krejčíková remained at No. 2 and Paula Badosa at No. 3. We had changes in the first 10 with Ons Jabeur going up to No. 6 and Aryna Sabalenka to No. 7, as Karolína Plíšková (No. 8) dropped two places.
No.9 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia mounted a successful comeback to reach her first Internazionali BNL d’Italia semifinal, ousting No.4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 1-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Last week’s Madrid champion Jabeur was down 6-1, 5-2 before she turned the match around to claim her tenth straight match-win.
Top 10 showdown: Jabeur edged to a 2-1 lead in her head-to-head with Sakkari. Jabeur had won an ITF Challenger meeting between them in 2015, but Sakkari exacted revenge at 2020 Ostrava.
Jabeur turned the rivalry back in her favor by winning nearly 70 percent of her first-service points and converting six of her 12 break points on Friday. Despite having 11 more unforced errors than Sakkari, Jabeur doubled Sakkari’s winner count by 28 to 14.
Sakkari served splendidly in the first set, staving off a handful of Jabeur passing winners. Sakkari won 74 percent of her service points and fended off the lone break point she faced in the opening set. Sakkari charged to 5-2 in the second set as well, edging closer to the win.
Jabeur clawed one break back when Sakkari served for the match at 5-2, and she then broke Sakkari’s serve for a second straight time with a drop volley winner, leveling the set at 5-5. A winning forehand pass on Jabeur’s first set point at 6-5 gave the Tunisian a fifth straight game and the set.
With the momentum in her favor, Jabeur zoomed to a 5-1 lead in the third set. Jabeur only needed a single match point in that game to complete the tremendous comeback after Sakkari fired a service return wide.
Kasatkina awaits: Jabeur will face World No.23 Daria Kasatkina in the semifinals on Saturday. Kasatkina reached the final four in Rome for the first time after advancing past an injured Jil Teichmann, 6-4, 3-2, ret. Teichmann retired due to a left thigh injury.
Prior to this week, Kasatkina had gone 0-for-4 in the Rome Round of 16. However, she has beaten four Top 30 players in a career-best Rome run this week, including her third Top 10 win of the year over No.2 seed Paula Badosa to make her first Rome quarterfinal.
Former Top 10 player Kasatkina is now a win away from her second WTA 1000 final. She reached the Indian Wells final in 2018, falling to Naomi Osaka.
“With every set I play, I played better and better,” Kasatkina said. “I’m happy with the way I feel on the court. OK, maybe not all the time I am making the right decisions and I’m doing the right shots, but I’m happy generally with how I am on the court. I don’t know about other players, but this is what I’m always trying to search for.”
After six breaks of serve in the first eight games, Kasatkina obtained a critical seventh break for 5-4. Kasatkina set up break point in that game by winning an engrossing rally, ending that point with a dropshot-lob combo. After converting that chance, Kasatkina held at love to take the one-set lead.
World No.29 Teichmann, a semifinalist in Madrid last week, took a medical time-out at 2-1 in the second set. After dropping her serve to give Kasatkina a 3-2 lead, Teichmann stopped play.
READ MORE: GCT EXCLUSIVE: Passion drives Maria Sakkari.