Stefanos Tsitsipas won a heroic battle against Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Having lost the first two sets 3-6, 2-6, the Greek champion made an astonishing comeback, winning the next two sets 7-6, 6-4.
The decider was won by Tsitsipas with a score of 7-5. The young Greek player became only the second player to recover from two sets down to beat Nadal at a Grand Slam.
Tsitsipas was handed a route back into the match as Nadal committed three uncharacteristic errors at the start of the third-set tie-break, and he took full advantage of his opportunity.
He then went on to win 84 percent of his first-serve points (36/43) and blasted 27 winners in the final two sets to clinch his first victory against the World No. 2 on the hard court.
By winning, he booked a semi-final against Daniil Medvedev, who earlier defeated his Russian compatriot, Andrey Rublev, in straight sets.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 17, 2021
“No words to describe feeling”
Speaking after the game, which lasted more than four hours, Tsitsipas said:
“I have no words to describe what went on the court. It’s an unbelievable feeling to play at such a level.
“I started very nervously, I don’t know what happened after the third set, I flew like a little bird. Everything worked.
“The emotions are indescribable. I focused on staying calm and holding my nerves. I would also give part of my victory by being calm with my mood. I have been working on trying to keep emotions to myself.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 17, 2021
The fifth-seeded Greek benefitted from a fourth-round walkover when ninth seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy withdrew due to an abdominal strain.
The 22-year-old’s only real test came courtesy of Greek-Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis, who pushed Tsitsipas to five sets in the second round.
Tsitsipas: youngest player ranked in the top 10
Tsitsipas is the youngest player to ever be ranked in the top 10 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and has a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world, making him the highest-ranked Greek player in history.
He was the champion at the 2019 ATP Finals, becoming the youngest winner of the year-end championships in eighteen years. He has won five singles titles and reached ten finals on the ATP Tour.
He has also reached two Grand Slam semifinals — at the 2019 Australian Open and the 2020 French Open.