Tsitsipas Ousts Federer, Signals Change Of Guard

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Jan 2019 11:57:46


 

 

Melbourne,

Young Stefanos Tsitsipas signalled a changing of the guard at the top of world tennis as he shocked defending champion Roger Federer in the Australian Open fourth round Sunday. The NextGen Finals champion beat Federer, who is 17 years his senior, 6-7 (11-13), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) on Rod Laver Arena. Tsitsipas, seeded 14, became the first Greek in history to reach the quarter-finals of a Slam where he will meet Spain's 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut.


"There's nothing really I can say to describe this," said the 20-year-old. "I'm the happiest man on earth right now."
The pair's only previous meeting in the mixed team Hopman Cup earlier this month was a tight affair where Federer had won courtesy of two tie-breaks.
So there was little surprise when the first set also went to 6-6 and a decider. It ended on a controversial note when a fan jumped the gun and shouted "out" on a Tsitsipas forehand with Federer 12-11 ahead.The call distracted Tsitsipas, who mis-hit his next forehand and Federer put it away.


The second saw Federer constantly pressure the Greek's serve but each time the energetic Tsitsipas resisted.
By the time the second set reached the tie-break the gutsy Greek had already repelled 10 break points.
This time, however, Tsitsipas quickly took two points against Federer's serve and levelled the match after just over two hours.
At 4-5 in the third, Tsitsipas forced his first two break points of the entire match but Federer weathered that storm.


But the clouds were darkening over the 20-time Grand Slam champion who was making an uncharacteristic series of mistakes, largely on his forehand wing.
On Federer's next service game the youngster again got to 15-40, this time for set points, and a 42nd unforced error into the net saw the veteran behind in a match for the first time in the championship.
Tsitsipas called the trainer in the changeover after the seventh game of the fourth set a he began to cramp on a warm and sticky night.


Federer couldn't take advantage of his opponent's plight and Tsitsipas sealed the win on his first match point in the third tie-break of the match.
"Roger is a legend of our sport," said Tsitsipas. "I have so much respect for him. It's a dream come true."
Nadal wary of 'dangerous' giant-killer Tiafoe: Rampant Rafael Nadal battered ex-world number four Tomas Berdych Sunday but said he would be taking a step into the unknown against "dangerous" Frances Tiafoe in the Australian Open quarter-finals.


The Spanish 17-time Grand Slam winner dismissed the unseeded Czech 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) to tear into the last eight without dropping a tournament set.
Next in the firing line for Nadal is giant-killing American Tiafoe — who celebrated his 21st birthday in style Sunday by beating 20th seed Grigor Dimitrov.


"It's going to be the first time that we play each other. Yeah, he's playing great," he said of 39th-ranked Tiafoe who created one of the shocks of the tournament by knocking out fifth seed Kevin Anderson in the first round.
"I know him, of course. He's been on the tour for a while. He's young. When you have younger players coming, they have always more attention."


Tiafoe, whose best previous Slam result was reaching the third round of Wimbledon last year, warmed up for Melbourne by partnering Serena Williams in the mixed teams Hopman Cup. "He's a very dynamic player, aggressive one. Of course, he's dangerous," said Nadal.
"He's in the quarter-finals. He won great matches during the whole event. He's super quick. And he's able to change directions fast. "He goes to the net fast. He has a huge forehand, good serve. So let's see."


A shell-shocked Berdych finally exerted some pressure on the 17-time Grand Slam champion in the third set, holding set points in the ninth and 11th games. But the Czech missed five months last year with a back injury.
Nadal, who also missed chunks of last season and had foot surgery after the US Open, had won 19 of the pair's 24 previous meetings. As he served at 5-4 in the breaker, Berdych let his frustration get the better of him when the serve clock mysteriously packed up.


"I don't see (the clock) when we change over and I don't see now," Berdych moaned to the umpire about the finicky Spaniard being too slow between points.
"Take as long as you want, Rafa," shouted one fan. Berdych dismissed the incident after. "It was not working," he said of the clock. "I think it's already done. What can we do? It's all right. It's just a clock."


Nadal, who is aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win all four Slams twice if he can add to his 2009 Aussie crown, said Berdych finally came to the party after winning just one point in the first two sets and gave him a test. "I think the third set was the real Tomas Berdych," Nadal said after reaching his 11th Australian Open quarter-final. "He made more mistakes than usual in the first two sets."


results: Men: Singles: Pre-quarters: •Frances Tiafoe (USA) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL S-20) 7-5, 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (1-7), 7-5 •Rafael Nadal (ESP S-2) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE) 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) •Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP S-22) bt Marin Cilic (CRO S-6) 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 •Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE S-14) bt Roger Federer (SUI xS-) 6-7 (11-13), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).