By Courtney Walsh MELBOURNE (Reuters) -After a phenomenal performance against Jannik Sinner on Wednesday, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas feels as though he is in the zone to produce something special at the 2022 Australian Open. The fourth seed credited his 6-3 6-4 6-2 defeat of the Italian in just over two hours on Rod Laver Arena […]
Tennis-Tsitsipas dances into Australian Open semis with Sinner thrashing
By Courtney Walsh
MELBOURNE (Reuters) -After a phenomenal performance against Jannik Sinner on Wednesday, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas feels as though he is in the zone to produce something special at the 2022 Australian Open.
The fourth seed credited his 6-3 6-4 6-2 defeat of the Italian in just over two hours on Rod Laver Arena to adopting a more humble approach to tennis after some setbacks.
Injuries, including the elbow problem that threatened his participation in Melbourne this year, and difficult defeats had taught him the importance of remaining grounded.
“You know when you’re dancing and when you’re doing well, you tend to glorify yourself, as if you are untouchable,” he told reporters.
“It is important, in that process, to remain on the ground and to remind yourself that you are a human being who is aiming for something great, and you’re headed towards that direction and you’re doing everything possible in order to achieve that greatness.
“Perfection doesn’t exist, but close to perfection (does), and that’s what I meant by that.”
His tennis in the quarter-final was not perfect, but he did manage to leave a rival tipped to be a future Grand Slam winner helpless at times.
Tsitsipas served particularly well, which enabled him to dictate a majority of points with his powerful forehand.
He also made his mark early in each set with a service break, converting all four opportunities on the Sinner serve while never troubled on his own delivery.
“I feel like I’m in the zone. I have no plans of getting out of it. It’s part of my game,” Tsitsipas said. “So far it has been the most consistent and the best match I’ve had in the tournament.”
Tsitsipas is hoping it will be third time lucky for him in an Australian Open semi-final.
After defeating Roger Federer on the way to a semi-final in 2019, he found Rafa Nadal too strong.
Last February he defeated Nadal in the quarter-finals after dropping the first two sets, but was beaten by Daniil Medvedev in his next match.
After becoming the first Greek to reach the final of a Grand Slam at Roland Garros, where he fell to Novak Djokovic, Tsitsipas struggled for his best form for the remainder of 2021.
He fell in the first round at Wimbledon, was beaten in the third rounds at the Tokyo Olympics and the U.S. Open and eventually underwent a medical procedure on his elbow injury.
In an on-court interview, Tsitsipas said he was advised that it was unlikely he would be able to compete in Melbourne as a result.
Instead he now stands just two wins away from a first major title.
“I am pretty sure my doctor is watching right now. He has been sending me texts after every single game,” he said.
“He said, ‘I don’t expect to see you playing in Australia’. But I proved him wrong. I am happy I have found the right man to bring me back even stronger.”
(Reporting by Courtney Walsh; editing by Peter Rutherford and Pritha Sarkar)