Lucky loser Pouille into Rome tennis semis

French qualifier Lucas Pouille has reached the Italian Open semi-finals after Argentine opponent Juan Monaco’s withdrawal because of injury.

Organisers on Friday said Monaco, who had upset fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka the previous day in three sets, had a problem with his left side.

The 52nd-ranked Pouille gained a spot in the tournament as a lucky loser after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga withdrew because of an adductor injury. He beat ninth-seeded David Ferrer in straight sets in the third round and reaching the quarter-finals was already a career-best result.

“I’m very lucky and I cross the fingers it’s keeping this way,” Pouille said, adding he went to the casino now and then. “Sometimes I win but, the next, I lose … I’m not especially lucky.”

His semi-final opponent will be second seed Andy Murray or 12th-ranked David Goffin.

“It’s going to be tough either way,” Pouille said. “Both are playing great tennis.”

It’s been quite a two-week stretch for the 22-year-old Pouille. After qualifying for last week’s Madrid Open, Pouille saved four match points to win his debut over Goffin in a third-set tiebreaker before losing in the second round to Sam Querrey in three sets.

Next week, Pouille will move into the world top 40 for the first time.

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