‘It feels like a fairytale almost’: Stefanos Tsitsipas books place in Australian Open semi-finals after backing up Roger Federer victory with win over Roberto Bautista Agut
- Stefanos Tsitsipas took first set 7-5 after being broken in the first game of match
- Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut fought back to take second set 6-4 on Tuesday
- Tsitsipas came from a break down again to claim third set 6-4 in the quarter-final
- The 20-year-old secured his spot in last four after winning fourth-set tie break
Beating Roger Federer is one thing, backing it up is another, and that is exactly what Stefanos Tsitsipas did to make the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The 20-year-old Greek confirmed that he is a superstar in the making when he ended the winning run of Andy Murray’s conqueror Roberto Bautista Agut with a battling 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 victory that took a gruelling three hours and 15 minutes.
He was left awaiting the winner of the match between Rafael Nadal and American outsider Frances Tiafoe.
Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates after defeating Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne on Tuesday
The 20-year-old dropped to the floor after sealing the match in a fourth-set tie break
Tsitsipas booked his place in the semi-finals of the Australian Open after 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 win
‘It feels like a fairytale almost, I’m just living the dream, living what I’ve been working hard for,’ he said. ‘I know I really worked hard to get here, I started the year and they asked me my goals and I said semis of a Grand Slam.
‘But it is real, it just happened. I know if I keep fighting and pushing myself I would get more chances. I told myself to keep pushing. I earned that tie-break.
‘The biggest challenge was preparing for this match, people were going crazy after my last win. That was a great win that got people’s attention so I needed to stay concentrated and focused. I showed it didn’t happen accidentally.’
He was left awaiting the winner of the match between Rafael Nadal and Frances Tiafoe
This was always a very difficult looking assignment for Tsitsipas as it is notoriously hard for young players to back up big wins such as he had against Federer in very different night-time conditions.
There was less of an atmosphere this time and the Greek was flat for the opening games, falling 4-2 behind before rallying to take the first set.
The flat-hitting Bautista Agut was a constant threat, having not lost a match so far this season, and seemed to have the contest under control when he levelled the match, momentarily helped by the younger player getting more time violations and forfeiting a serve. He then went a break up in the third.
Tsitsipas ended run of Andy Murray’s conqueror Bautista Agut in three hours and 15 minutes
Both players had shown signs of fatigue, but at 3-4 Tsitsipas broke back and then in his next return game created three set points. He fluffed the first two with unforced errors, but on the third the Spaniard attempted a dropshot and he sprinted in to flick a delicate backhand down the line for a winner.
Added to the time violation was an official coaching warning for the Greek, and while it was not immediately clear who was responsible it was noteworthy that he has Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou in his box.
There were few chances in the fourth until the Spaniard double faulted at 30-30, 5-6, to give the match point, which he saved with a forehand winner.
In the tie-break Tsitsipas got ahead for 3-0 and then surged home from 3-2 against a fading opponent to complete another truly impressive victory.
He then charmed the arena by introducing his support box and talking about his YouTube channel. He is a very unusual individual.