Stefanos Tsitsipas drove a dominant day on service and a steady stream of unforced errors from Benoit Paire to advance to the fourth round of Saturday’s Australian Open.
Despite dropping the third set in a tiebreak, the Greek always seemed to be in control of the match at the Rod Laver Arena, shooting 21 aces and taking advantage of the Frenchman’s 50 unforced errors to finish after two hours and 42 minutes. to slide.
“I’m quite happy with the win,” Tsitsipas said. “Benoit is one of the biggest challenges in our game. He has a lot of talent and sense of the game, so it’s a very important win for me today and it was special to play in this arena and share it with the public.”
The next for the Greek World No. 4 is American Taylor Fritz, who won a roller coaster 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 from Spanish veteran Roberto Bautista Agut.
“I’ve shared the field with Taylor since we were growing up and he’s improved a lot,” Tsitsipas said. “I will take the game very seriously and try to get the best out of my game. Hopefully the public will support me and I can do my job.”
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Tsitsipas, who also needs four sets to beat Argentina’s Sebastian Baez in the second round, will make his seventh appearance in the fourth round of a Grand Slam. At 23, he aims to become the youngest Australian Open singles champion since Rafael Nadal in 2009. He is a two-time semi-finalist at Melbourne Park.
Looking ahead to the Fritz clash, Tsitsipas will look to improve his first-serving percentage, which dropped to 56 percent today, compared to 68 percent in the second round against Baez and 64 percent against Mikael Ymer in the first round.
He didn’t pay the price for the slippage against Paire because of his conversion rate of 89 percent on the first serve, 59 out of 66 points and by winning a healthy 65 percent of the second serve.
“It feels good to play and be part of the last 16. I’m happy with today’s game,” said Tsitsipas. “I feel like there were certain times when my opponent didn’t work as hard as I had to for the point. It was just a one time execution on his part, he served really well and got good shots like one, two.
“I’m happy with the way I fought at the end. He certainly didn’t have to work as hard as I did for the points, but it paid off in the end because I was consistent and patient when I had to.”
Fritz is through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in 21 attempts.
“It’s huge. After the game I was almost in tears,” said Fritz. “It seems stupid because so many people have made it to the second week of Slams, but it has eluded me for so long. I’ve had a lot of tough draws and I never looked at it properly.”