tennis10sBalls.com

Tennis Updates | Tiafoe Out | Tsitsipas Keeps Shining Into 2019 Australian Open Semis

Rafael Nadal of Spain holds tennis balls during his men's singles quarter final match against Frances Tiafoe of the USA at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 22 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Rafael Nadal of Spain holds tennis balls during his men’s singles quarter final match against Frances Tiafoe of the USA at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 22 January 2019. EPA-EFE/LUKAS COCH

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

One unexpected Australian Open NextGen run came to an end on Tuesday. Another kept on rolling.

 

Before Frances Tiafoe fell 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, Stefanos Tsitsipas got the best of fellow surprise quarterfinalist Roberto Baustista Agut 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2) during the afternoon session. The result is one more showdown featuring Nadal and an up-and-coming youngster; he has already dismissed both Tiafoe and Alex de Minaur so far this fortnight.

 

Tsitsipas may be a tougher test. The 20-year-old Greek is already up to 15th in the rankings, having captured his first career ATP title this past fall in Stockholm following an appearance in the Toronto Masters championshop match (lost to none other than Nadal). Tsitsipas stunned Roger Federer during fourth-round action this fortnight and followed it up with a gutsy effort against Bautista Agut in a match that understandably saw both players low in their respective gas tanks.

 

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

“I’m just living the dream, living what I’ve been working hard for,” Tsitsipas commented. “I mean, I feel a bit emotional–but not too much because I know I really worked hard to get here, the semis of a Grand Slam.”

 

This, of course, is nothing new for Nadal. The 17-time slam champion is through to his 30th semifinal and he is two wins away from completing the double career Grand Slam (the AO is the only one he hasn’t conquered at least twice).

 

“I knew he was going to bring crazy intensity,” Tiafoe said of Nadal. “I knew the ball was going to be jumping; I knew if he got hold of a forehand it was going to be barbecued chicken. But point in, point out, I’ve never seen someone so locked in. I think that’s what I take from him. I think that’s what I’ve been able to put in my game a little bit, playing [fewer] loose points. (I’m) still not as tight as him. That’s what you saw in certain situations today.”

 

Tsitsipas is 0-2 lifetime against Nadal and 0-4 in total sets. He at least managed to push the Spaniard to a tiebreaker in their second set at the Rogers Cup.

 

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *