Italian Jannik Sinner stepped up his bid for a second Grand Slam title by securing a 6-2 6-4 7-6(3) victory over Grigor Dimitrov on Tuesday to reach the French Open semi-finals, minutes after it was confirmed he would be the new world number one.

Italy’s Jannik Sinner celebrates winning his quarter final match against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov.(REUTERS)

Although he didn’t know it at the time, the second seed will take top spot in the rankings on Monday regardless of who wins the French Open after defending champion Novak Djokovic pulled out with a knee injury before his quarter-final match.

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Djokovic’s withdrawal will mean that 22-year-old Sinner will become the first Italian player to take the number one spot since the ATP rankings were first published 51 years ago.

“What can I say? First of all it’s every player’s dream to be number one. On the other hand, seeing Novak retiring here is, for everyone, disappointing. I wish him a quick recovery,” Sinner said amid applause from the crowd.

“I try not to think much about this. This is a tournament I used to struggle a lot, especially the last two years. I’m happy to be in the semi-finals.

“It’s a special moment for me. I’m very happy to share this with you guys (the fans) and everyone at home watching from Italy.”

Sinner has a perfect record in Grand Slams this year but a trickier test could be on the cards for the Australian Open champion, however, as he faces a potential clash against fellow young gun Carlos Alcaraz who meets Stefanos Tsitsipas later.

Sinner tested Dimitrov’s backhand early in the contest on Philippe Chatrier and the lanky 22-year-old got a double break over his 10th-seeded opponent en route to take the opening set without getting out of second gear.

A searing crosscourt forehand winner set up break point at the start of the next and Sinner held firm to edge ahead, before shrugging off a back twinge to extend his dominance and lay the platform for a 33rd victory of a near-flawless season.

World number 10 Dimitrov, who lifted his first title since 2017 at Brisbane earlier this year and reached two more finals, battled on bravely in the third set and forced a tiebreak where a clinical Sinner wrapped up the match with no trouble.

“I am very happy. We have played a couple of times before and I know what to expect. We played a final in Miami and it is always tough to play against him,” Sinner said.

“He is such a great talent and nice guy. My performance was very solid, especially the first two sets.

“I had a little bit of pressure when serving for the match, but this is normal, this is tennis. I am happy with how I played later and to be in the semis.”

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