Stefanos Tsitsipas mentioned it was nearly like a fairytale. Forty-eight hours after claiming the most important victory of his profession when he beat Roger Federer right here on the Australian Open, 20-year-old Tsitsipas on Tuesday turned the primary Greek participant ever to achieve the semi-finals of a Grand Slam match.
His reward for beating Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 can be a gathering on Thursday with both Rafael Nadal or Frances Tiafoe, who have been as a consequence of meet within the ultimate match of the night session.
Together with his lengthy flowing hair and energetic type, Tsitsipas has rapidly grow to be probably the most thrilling younger expertise within the males’s sport, however this match underlined that he has flamboyant expertise to match his seems. Whether or not he was hitting huge forehands or unleashing his potent one-handed backhand, the world No 15 saved Bautista Agut beneath fixed stress.
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Comfy and assured on the internet, Tsitsipas hit his volleys with conviction, however it was his potential to provide you with the sudden that usually did for his opponent.
Bautista Agut, who was unbeaten within the 9 earlier matches he had performed this yr, is without doubt one of the sport’s most constant ball-strikers and has been in the most effective type of his life, however Tsitsipas had the aptitude and the creativeness to discover a well past the 30-year-old Spaniard.
“It nearly seems like a fairytale,” Tsitsipas mentioned afterwards. “I’m dwelling a dream, dwelling what I labored so arduous for. I really feel emotional – however not a lot. I informed individuals earlier than that reaching Grand Slam semis was my purpose. Once I was answering that query I assumed I used to be loopy. However no, it’s actual. It occurred.”
At 20 years and 168 days Tsitsipas is the youngest man to achieve the semi-finals right here since Andy Roddick in 2003 and the youngest to make the final 4 at any Grand Slam occasion since Novak Djokovic in 2007.
This quarter-final was a gathering between the gamers who within the earlier spherical had crushed final yr’s champion and runner-up, Tsitsipas having knocked out Federer and Bautista Agut having accounted for Marin Cilic.
Each males have been taking part in of their first Grand Slam quarter-final. Tsitsipas’ earlier finest efficiency in a Grand Slam match had seen him attain the fourth spherical at Wimbledon final summer time, whereas Bautista Agut had fallen within the fourth spherical on 9 earlier events till his victory right here over Cilic.
It had been a testing match already for each males. All 4 of Tsitsipas’ matches had gone to 4 units, whereas Bautista Agut had been taken to 5 in three of his first 4 matches, towards Andy Murray within the first spherical, John Millman within the second and Cilic within the fourth.
From the second the 2 males walked into Rod Laver Area it was clear who could be the gang favorite. Greek followers have been out in power as soon as once more and their nationwide flags have been being hoist aloft throughout the stadium on a gloriously sunny Melbourne afternoon.
Tsitsipas was damaged within the very first sport however fought again to win the primary set, however Bautista Agut took the second when he transformed the one break level within the third sport. Tsitsipas once more went a break down within the third set however levelled at 4-Four with a shot that typified his artistic brilliance. Having chased down a drop shot, he shocked his opponent by sliding an beautiful backhand winner down the road.
The fourth set was tight, with Bautista Agut saving the one break level – a match level – when he served at 5-6. On the finish of an extended baseline rally the Spaniard hit a daring forehand winner right into a nook.
Tsitsipas, nonetheless, took cost of the tie-break from the beginning. He received the primary three factors, went to 6-2 with a service winner and received the following level in comparable trend earlier than falling on his again in celebration.
Bautista Agut mentioned it had been a detailed match. “Tsitsipas was taking part in very effectively,” the Spaniard mentioned. “I had my probabilities within the first set and within the third set however I misplaced each of them. Perhaps that was the important thing or the second of the match to show it round. After he broke again he bought confidence and performed very well on the finish of each units.”