Lucky Loser Jan-Lennard Struff on an amazing journey in Madrid

James Richardson
Jan Lennard Struff forehand
Jan Lennard Struff in action

Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff says there is no way he could have predicted how his fortnight in Madrid would pan out.

In an incredible full-circle moment, Struff will face the man who beat him in qualifying in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

Struff got entry into the main draw as a lucky loser but has made the most of that second chance wins over the likes of Lorenzo Sonego, Ben Shelton and in the last eight, Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It’s an amazing journey here,” Struff said. “I never thought last week that when I lost the match against Aslan that we would meet now in the semi-finals, it’s just unreal.

“I played a pretty good match [against Tsitsipas]. He was better in the first set, I somehow won the set, I stayed in my service games. I served pretty well in important moments.

“Third set I came out and I got a push from my box, and I played a very aggressive game style, that was the key today.”

Struff will have the experience of the loss in qualifying to draw on and he is upbeat about his chances for a first Masters series final.

“Aslan is playing amazing this week so far and he beat me pretty easily in qualies I need to say. I didn’t play the best tennis in that match, but he made me play not good I feel like,” Struff said.

“I think we need to analyse it now, focus on the match tomorrow and I hope I can do better.”

Struff believes that maintaining his aggression was key in overcoming Tsitsipas.

“He was serving so good the whole match and it was so tough to get into points. But I somehow won the first set,” Struff said. “I felt like he was better in the first set. I got out of many tricky situations. He was 4/1 up in the tie-break.

“I thought I played [in] the second set a very, very good set, but I played a bad game at 5-all. And in the third set I came out aggressive again and it was a huge win for me.”

Karatsev reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final when he overcame China’s Zhang Zhizhen 7-6(3), 6-4.

“I am happy with my condition. Back to the top level,” Karatsev said. “Playing well and feeling well. From the qualifying, match by match, it has got harder, so mentally you have to be there more. Because your opponent doesn’t give you any free points so you have to be there yourself. The important thing is now recover well.”

Carlos Alcaraz faces Karen Khachanov in the other semi-final.