Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas is through to the Australian Open quarter-finals after a thrilling five-set epic against American Taylor Fritz on Monday.
the no. 4 seed came back from 2-1 sets down to defeat Fritz 4-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 6-4 following a three-and-a-half hour marathon on Rod Laver Arena.
The duo’s rivalry from their junior days has been renewed on the tour, and Tsitsipas has now won all their three professional encounters.
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Tsitsipas battled his mental demons throughout the match after he was given several code violation penalties for receiving coaching assistance from his father.
At the end of the fourth set, Tsitsipas was told by chair umpire Damien Dumusois to order his own player’s box to stop gesturing so animatedly.
“Stefanos, please, it’s a great match, but either you tell him [to stop], or I’m going to keep giving them (code violations),” he said.
Earlier, Tsitsipas screamed in the direction of his father and narrowly pulled out of an apparent attempt to throw his racquet towards the player’s box on Rod Laver Arena.
Tsitsipas has a reputation for brazenly ignoring warnings for receiving coaching and was able to complete his victory despite the string of warnings and violations committed.
It was a draining, albeit absorbing contest in Melbourne Park, which seemingly took its toll on the 23-year-old who struggled to string words together in the post-match interview.
“I haven’t been thinking anything,” an exhausted Tsitsipas said with a laugh, the crowd chuckling.
“I have been concentrating on doing my job. The rest, media, whatever attention I should be getting, I haven’t really paid off.
“I haven’t really paid attention to that. Sorry, not ‘paid off’. Sorry, I’m very tired, I can barely speak right now. My mind is still in the match.
“Right now I’m focused on getting good recovery, getting in an ice bath, getting a good day off … and getting back on court.”
Tsitsipas will take on Italy’s Jannik Sinner, who earlier in the day defeated Australia’s Alex de Minaur in straight sets, in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
“I give [sic] everything out on the court today,” Tsitsipas told Channel 9 post match.
“I am very proud of myself, the way I fought. The way I stayed consistent in the moments that were very close and crucial. I am overwhelmed. Just too much. The stadium was on fire.”
Tsitsipas has twice qualified for the Australian Open semi-finals, in 2019 and 2021.
He became the first Greek player to reach a grand slam final when he lost to Novak Djokovic in last year’s French Open final after leading by two sets.
Tsitsipas also holds the distinction of beating both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on his way to his two previous semi-final appearances at the Australian Open.
– with Tyson Otto and AFP