Melbourne [Australia], January 27 (ANI): A maiden Australian Open triumph and world number ATP Ranking in men's singles competition is within reach of Greek tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas, as he defeated Russia's Karen Khachanov in a gritty semifinal match in Melbourne on Friday.
Tsitsipas downed Khachanov by 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3.
The Greek emerged as the more dominant player with his all-action game and had his opponent under pressure for a large majority of this three-hour, 21-minute affair.
A late surge denied Tsitsipas his fifth straight sets win of the fortnight as he denied him an attempt to serve out the match at 5-4 in third set. During the tie-break, he saved two match points and fired fearless forehand winners, but the Greek star kept his nerves to bo"I thought about how hard I have worked to get into this position, and it takes a little bit more," Tsitsipas said as quoted by ATP about his mentality on entering the fourth set.
"I was not able to deliver that in the third set; I was extremely close to getting it.""It is one of these moments that if you stick around, if you dedicate yourself even more and if you concentrate on these important moments even more, it pays off quite well. And always having that ambience in the background somewhere feels so good when I'm able to hit the ball and get such a reward back from the fans," concluded Tsitsipas.
For the title clash on Sunday, Tsitsipas awaits a challenge from nine-time champion Novak Djokovic or America's Tommy Paul, who will lock horns in the second semifinal match. If Djokovic emerges victorious, it will be a rematch of the 2021 Roland Garros final, where Djokovic won.
"These are the moments I have been working hard for. To be able to play finals like this, but finals that have bigger meaning that just a final," he said in his on-court interview.
"It's a Grand Slam final, I am fighting for the No. 1 spot. It is a childhood dream to be capturing the No. 1 spot one day. I am close. I am happy that this opportunity comes here in Australia and not somewhere else, because this is a place of significance.""Let's do it guys!" concluded the Greek. (ANI)