Tsitsipas, Nadal in Semis

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Jan 2019 12:34:26


 

Melbourne,

Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas showed resilience and maturity to power into a fairytale Australian Open semi-final Tuesday after sweeping past Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut. Roger Federer's conqueror had to contend with dropping his serve early in each of the first three sets to the 22nd seed before coming through 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) in 3hr 15min. "It all feels like a fairytale almost," said the 20-year-old after holding his head in his hands in disbelief and sinking to the floor on Rod Laver Arena. "I'm just living the dream, living what I've been working hard for," Tsitsipas added.


"I feel a bit emotional but not too much -- I know I really worked hard to get here, playing in semis of a Grand Slam.
"I was asked my goals this year and said semis Grand Slam. And when I was answering this question, I thought I was crazy. But it is real. It just happened." Tsitsipas, who broke through in 2018 with his first ATP Tour title and won the NextGen finals, will face either world number two Rafael Nadal or unseeded Frances Tiafoe for a place in the final.


For the 30-year-old Bautista Agut, who won the Doha warm-up event and was in his first quarter-final at this level, the wait for a maiden Grand Slam semi-final goes on.
After encountering the gifted Greek at close quarters for the first time he still tipped either Nadal or Novak Djokovic to lift the famous Norman Brookes trophy.
"He's playing very good tennis. Of course, he has a lot of time to improve, a lot of time to get enough experience to be in the finals of these tournaments," the Spanish world number 24 told reporters of Tsitsipas.


"But here I think Rafa and Novak are my favourites."
Federer did not win any of 12 break points in a four-set defeat against 14th seed Tsitsipas in round four, but Bautista Agut managed it on his first in the opening game of the match. There was no panic from the 20-year-old from Athens and he broke back before stealing the set 7-5 with a second break created by a rasping forehand winner that flat-footed the Spaniard. Bautista Agut went 2-1 up in the second set with another early break as the Tsitsipas first serve momentarily deserted him.


This time the Spaniard stayed on top and levelled the match 6-4. Another break for Bautista Agut came in the fifth game of the third set.
But with the crowd beginning to get more involved, Tsitsipas outlasted the Spaniard in a gruelling game to level at 4-4.
Nadal eyeing title: Rafael Nadal continued his relentless march towards an 18th major title Tuesday as an emotional Petra Kvitova swept into her first Grand Slam semi-final since a terrifying knife attack almost ended her career.
On day nine of the Australian Open, the fairytale runs of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Danielle Collins were also extended as they too swept into the last four.


Second seed Nadal inched closer to winning an event he has only claimed once before when he trounced unseeded American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in another ruthless display from a man who has not dropped a set so far.
Tiafoe had announced himself by beating fifth seed Kevin Anderson, but was no match for a player at the peak of his powers as he attempts to become only the third man to win all four Slams twice and the first to do so in the Open era.
Paes-Stosur crash out : Veteran Leander Paes and his partner Samantha Stosur suffered a second round defeat in the mixed doubles event, ending India's campaign at the Australian Open here Tuesday.
The unseeded pair of Paes and Stosur won the first set 6-4 against Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Robert Farah but conceded the second set with the samescoreline.