Stefanos Tsitsipas: Changing of the Guard

Stefanos Tsitsipas has become the youngest player since Novak Djokovic at the 2007 US Open to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

He beat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-6) in the Australian Open quarterfinals to follow up his impressive win over Roger Federer.

Baton being passed?

The shock win over Federer has been seen as a passing of the baton from a multiple Slam champion to a potential one.

It echoes one of a 19-year-old Federer’s early wins when he beat his idol Pete Sampras in 2001. Sampras would go on to win only more Slam and played his last tournament in 2002.

Therefore, similarities are made with Federer in the twilight of his career at 37, and Tsitispas just starting out on his.

At the moment, the best two players are Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, but they are 31 and 32 respectively, with recent injury problems. With Andy Murray plagued by a hip injury and likely retiring, this is an opportunity for the new generation of players.

There was pressure on Tsitsipas to back up his Federer triumph but is surely a leading contender to win a Slam in the next few years.

Notable wins already

Tsitsipas had already recorded eye-catching results in 2018, including at the Canadian Open. He beat World No. 8 Dominic Thiem, No. 10 Novak Djokovic, No. 3 Alexander Zverev, and No. 6 Kevin Anderson. This made him the second player to beat four top 10 players at a single event since 2004.

In addition, he ended the year by triumphing in the NextGen ATP Finals, a tournament for the best under 21 players. He beat Alex de Minaur in the final, claiming the end of season ATP Most Improved Player award.

Raising the profile of Greek tennis

Unsurprisingly the Greek has plenty of support at Melbourne Park. The Australian city has the largest Greek-speaking population outside Europe. This outstanding breakthrough run saw him become the first Greek player to progress to a Slam quarter-final.

As well as that, he was the first Greek to win an ATP Tour title when he triumphed at the Stockholm Open.

Playing Style

The Greek star claimed Federer was his idol growing up, basing his game around the Swiss legend. He has the same one-handed backhand, is adept at the net and has a strong first serve.

Against Bautista Agut, he served 22 aces, winning 90% of points on his first serve in the first set. Similarly, he lost only three points on his second serve in the fourth set.

He now faces Rafael Nadal in a blockbuster of a semifinal as he aims to keep this extraordinary run going.

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