No problem for Tsitsipas as he passes to round of 16 of Australian Open
Playing in glorious sunshine after 2 days marked by wild swings in the weather, the highest-seeded man in the draw after the premature exits of holder Rafa Nadal and Casper Ruud played near-flawless tennis to the delight of Greek fans in the Rod Laver Arena.
“Fair crack of the whip mate, I mean, it was great,” Tsitsipas said, slipping into the local vernacular. “I think my placement on the serve was exceptional today, I didn’t have a lot of rallies on my serve, which helped a lot."
“Kind of kept things clean and I enjoyed the weather today, what a lovely day for tennis it is today, isn’t it?”
Tsitsipas has not dropped a set in the tournament as he chases a maiden Grand Slam. But the 2021 French Open runner-up came close midway through the match, saving a set point in the second set before doubling his advantage following a tiebreak.
Roared on by Greek fans, many of them from Melbourne, which has the largest population of Greek speakers outside Greece and Cyprus, Tsitsipas eased through the next set without any drama to set up a clash with 21-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner.
Sinner was made to work hard after a poor start to his match against Marton Fucsovics, dropping his serve twice and committing 18 unforced errors to lose the opening set, before eventually outlasting Fucsovics 4-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-0.
A neat passing shot at the net after powerful exchanges from the baseline helped Fucsovics break for a 2-1 lead in the second set and the world number 78 heaped more pressure on his opponent by going 2 sets up before Sinner switched gears.
The 15th seed, who has reached the quarter-finals of all four Grand Slams but has never gone any further, dropped only three games in the next three sets playing superior tennis against a fading Fucsovics.
Victory sparked huge cheers for the youngster on Margaret Court Arena, which had witnessed an epic comeback from Andy Murray hours earlier.
The former world number one was not happy to end his match at 4.05 a.m. (1705 GMT on Thursday), describing the late finish as a “joke” and “disrespectful.”
Tournament director Craig Tiley ruled out any immediate changes after Murray said tennis must aim to avoid late finishes having completed a remarkable 4-6 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-3 7-5 win over Thanasi Kokkinakis.
“At this point there’s no need to change the schedule,” Tiley, who has had to negotiate delays caused by heat and rain, told the “Today Show” on Channel Nine. “We’ll always look at it, when we do the debrief – like we do every year.
“But at this point, at what it is, we’ve got to fit those matches in the 14 days, so you don’t have many options.”
Former French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova, a quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2022, also went safely through with a 6-2 6-3 win over Anhelina Kalinina to remain on course for a possible meeting with American third seed Jessica Pegula.
Americans Sebastian Korda, Frances Tiafoe and Mackenzie McDonald are all in action later in the day.
No male US player has captured a Grand Slam title since Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open, but the country’s hopes have been rekindled with 8 players in the third round.
2 all-American matches are scheduled for Saturday, meaning that a total of 6 American men can advance, which would be the highest number to reach the last 16 at the Australian Open since 1995. [Reuters]
Regarding Tsitsipas more specifically, he defeated Griekspoor 3-0 and advanced to the fourth round of the Australian Open for the third year in a row. The top Greek tennis player overcame the 26-year-old Dutchman (No. 63) 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-3 in 2 hours and 6 minutes and remains unbeaten this season, with 7 wins in as many games, while in the tournament of Melbourne has yet to lose a set.
Tsitsipas was sweeping and left no room for his opponent. He took the victory in an emphatic way and in the "16" stage of the tournament, for the fourth time in his career, he will face Jannik Sinner this coming Sunday (22/01), who defeated the Dutchman Marton Fucsovic with 4-6, 4-6, 6 -1, 6-2, 6-0. Tsitsipas has played 5 times with the 21-year-old Italian (No. 16) and leads 4-1 in victories, while last year he eliminated him in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
After the match he showed his confidence and determination to excel in the first major tournament of the year: "Of course I put myself in the favorites. I have proven for many years that I belong where I am, it is not by chance. I believe in myself, I have worked very hard to get here. I try to give 100% in every effort, I haven't thrown or raced if I feel like I'm not having a good day, for example. For me it is always the struggle, each trial is a new adventure with its own story. I'm definitely one of the favorites and I feel it with my game in the last few days," the 24-year-old champion said and then spoke about his next opponent, Jannick Sinner: "Sinner is my biggest opponent so far in the tournament, but I feel good about my game. Speaking for myself, I haven't felt better on the pitch so far. Confidence-wise, I feel like my hitting is there. I'm in a good place tennis-wise at the moment and I'm not going to expect anything from my opponent. I will play with the same passion and passion for victory."