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Tstunning Tshow By Tsitsipas At Australian Open Tsends Federer Back To Tswitzerland

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates winning his men's singles fourth round match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates winning his men’s singles fourth round match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Tstunning! Tsensational! Tsitsipas!

 

Okay, enough of the tomfoolery; this is no joke: in a huge upset on Sunday night, Stefanos Tsitsipas ousted two-time defending Australian Open champion Roger Federer 6-7(9), 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-6(5). The 20-year-old Greek cracked 20 aces and did not drop serve a single time while pulling off the biggest win of his career in three hours and 45 minutes during fourth-round action in Rod Laver Arena.

 

But the most important statistic for Tsitsipas–and for Federer, too–was obvious: 12 break points against the Tsitsipas serve, 12 won by Tsitsipas.

 

“I was just serving well,” the underdog said of his efforts down break point. “I managed to not make any mistakes, stay in the point, make him play…. It was actually very mental, I would say. I could have cracked at any moment, but I didn’t because I really wanted it bad. I showed it on the court. Obviously and for sure that mental toughness helped a lot. It could have been a different match if I [didn’t] stand that pressure.”

 

Pressure? What pressure? Tsitsipas saved eight break points in the second set when a two-set deficit at the 37-year-old Swiss’ hands would have spelled almost-certain doom. He stole that set in another ‘breaker and then broke Federer for the first and only time at 6-5 in the third to seize an improbable lead.

 

A third tiebreaker also had to decide the fourth, at which point the world No. 15 gained an upper hand at 5-5 when Federer erred on a forehand that was challenged but shown to be inches long. That gave Tsitsipas match point on his own serve, which he converted by forcing the 20-time major champion into an error with a huge inside-out forehand.

 

Roger Federer of Switzerland in action during his men's singles fourth round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Roger Federer of Switzerland in action during his men’s singles fourth round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH

“I lost to a better player who was playing very well tonight,” Federer praised. “(He) hung in there, gave himself chances at some point, stayed calm. It’s not always easy, especially for younger guys. Credit to him for taking care of that.”

 

Tsitsipas’ reward is a surprising QF contest against Roberto Bautista Agut, who is in the midst of a borderline miracle run of his own. The Spaniard has won three matches in five sets, including hard-fought victories at the expense of Andy Murray (R1) and Marin Cilic (R2).

 

The other quarterfinal on the bottom side of the draw features another up-and-coming star in Frances Tiafoe. The American celebrated his 21st birthday on Sunday by beating Grigor Dimitrov in four entertaining sets to set up a showdown with Rafael Nadal.

 

 

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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