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  • Dylan Alcott Named Australian Of The Year

    Dylan Alcott on Tuesday was named Australian of the Year and awarded an Officer of the Order (AO) in the Australia Day Honours List. The longtime wheelchair tennis star was recognised for his distinguished service to Paralympic sport and as a role model for people with a disability.

    Alcott won his Australian Open quad wheelchair singles semi-final on Tuesday afternoon before flying to Canberra for the evening ceremony. The Australian did not expect to win, he told the media before his flight.

    “If by the very odd chance you have a win, you cannot do that on Zoom. So many people with disability should have won that award over the years but haven’t,” Alcott said. “I would never forgive myself if I don't go, even though I don't think I'm going to get up. I'm going to go. I always do stuff like this.”

    Alcott later added: “I’m always like, It would just be so cool for a person with disability to get up there and be able to have that. Been Young Australian of the Year, Senior, all that, just not many Australians of the Year. Also to be given that platform to talk about what you're passionate about is super cool.” 

    Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley congratulated Alcott for his accomplishments on and off the court. 

    “We are incredibly fortunate Dylan chose tennis as we’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand his great sense of humour, sharp intellect and his incredible work ethic and drive to succeed in all aspects of his life,” Tiley said in a statement. “His advocacy for people with a disability is a force to behold. He has the power to change the world and is not afraid to use it.

    “For a long time we’ve known that Dylan’s influence reaches far beyond the tennis court or the sports stadium. He has a magnificent ability to engage with all people that transcends tennis, and sport.” 

    Alcott will play Sam Schroder in the Australian Open final on Thursday. It will be his last competitive match before retiring.

  • Nadal: ‘It Was A Little Bit Of A Miracle’

    Rafael Nadal was in difficulty on Tuesday against Denis Shapovalov in the Australian Open quarter-finals. But the Spaniard dug deep to advance after five gruelling sets in the Melbourne heat.

    “I don’t know, [it] was a little bit of miracle. I was destroyed honestly, physically,” Nadal said. “But my serve worked well, and for me, every game that I was winning with my serve was a victory. That was my goal, just try to win games with my serve and expect for the chance on the return.”

    In four hours and eight minutes, Nadal lost his serve just twice, and that helped him claw past Shapovalov inside Rod Laver Arena. Quietly, he has moved to within two matches of a record-breaking 21st major title. The Spaniard is just six sets from breaking a tie with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

    The lefty admitted that while it is “a real honour” to be part of the race and he wants to keep winning, he is not completely fixated on the record.

    “I don't believe that my happiness, my future happiness is going to depends on if I achieve one more Grand Slam than the others or if the others achieve more Grand Slams than me,” Nadal said. “No, I am super satisfied and feel [I am a] very lucky person in general for all the things that happened to me in this life.

    “I have a way to approach life. You can't be always frustrated if the other, if the neighbour has a bigger house than you or a better phone or a better thing. I'm not going to be frustrated if Novak or Roger finishes their career with more Grand Slams than me.” 

    It took a massive effort for Nadal to get this far in the tournament in the first place. Since arriving in Australia, he has openly discussed the difficulties he has had with his foot, which kept him out for the rest of 2021 following last year's Citi Open. On Tuesday, the heat did not make things easier.

    “I started to feel bad honestly at the end of the second. It was very warm out there today and the conditions were hard,” Nadal said. “I think of course all these kinds of matches help me to be in better shape, but we can't forget that I didn't play much tennis for such a long time. So under these very hard conditions, it’s difficult for me.”

    The legendary lefty admitted he was “very worried” entering the fifth set. Between the heat and his opponent, there were plenty of obstacles for him to overcome in order to get back on track.

    “But more than worried I thought [it was] going to be super difficult to win that match,” Nadal said. “But here I am. Being in [the] semi-finals means a lot to me against have a victory against a great player after all the things that I went through, so it's amazing news. I’m super happy.”

    More good news for Nadal is that he is not only in the semi-finals, but full of confidence. Having won the Melbourne Summer Set to begin the season, he is now 8-0 in 2022.

    “Of course after eight matches you feel a little bit more confident and the things are going a little bit more automatic again. I have been playing well. Of course after that I had the thing on court, the physical issue that I was not able to keep moving the proper way for the rest of the match,” Nadal said. “But when I was physically well, I think I was playing a little bit better than him.”

    Nadal explained the importance of having two days off to physically recover before his clash against Italian Matteo Berrettini, who also needed five sets in his quarter-final against Gael Monfils.

    “Matteo, he's one of the best players of the world since a while already. He's very solid. I need to play my 100 per cent and my highest level if I want to keep having chances to fight, to be competitive, and to try to be in the final,” Nadal said. “I am super happy today. For me, this victory is super important in these circumstances, and be able to win [and reach] the semi-finals of a Grand Slam after everything is a lot of positive energy for me.”

  • Preview: Sinner Faces Tsitsipas In Bid For First Slam SF

    A former junior national skiing champion, Jannik Sinner has yet to carve into the fresh powder of a Grand Slam semi-final. He’s the only man in Wednesday’s quarter-final lineup yet to make a run to the final four, with Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime all coming closer to the summit, and Medvedev reaching the peak as the 2021 US Open champion.

    Sinner, 20, is also the youngest of the quartet—though he’s a long way from the bunny slopes as a Top 10 player and five-time champ on the ATP Tour.

    The Italian prefers tennis to skiing because the racquet sport allows an opportunity to play through mistakes, while skiing slip-up spells the end of the race. In his fourth-round win over Australian No. 1 and home favourite Alex de Minaur, Sinner made 30 unforced errors. But after a slow start out of the gates, his attack began to gather speed. He finished with 35 winners in a 7-6(3), 6-3, 6-4 victory.

    “I tried to stay composed with myself, and today I have to say I raised the level, especially in the second and third set,” Sinner said following his Rod Laver Arena debut. “In the beginning, there was a little bit of tension on both sides, which is normal. I was expecting a long match.”

    Tennis also allows the opportunity to recover from lost sets, though Sinner has only had to do so once this fortnight, when he dropped the second set of a third-round win over Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel. Only Gael Monfils, who was a perfect 12-for-12, had a better set record on the way to the quarters.

    In World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, Sinner will meet his first Top 30 opponent of the new year. But he’s no stranger to the game’s elite, having made his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals in November, where he replaced Matteo Berrettini midway through round-robin play as an alternate in Turin. In replacing his countryman, Sinner became the youngest man to compete at the Finals since Lleyton Hewitt in 2000.

    In comparing the two Italians, Tsitsipas gave a glowing review of his quarter-final opponent: “Jannik, I would consider the more talented player from the baseline, that looks like he’s very relaxed when he’s playing. Doesn’t show much tension when he’s out there; pretty cold-blooded in comparison with Matteo, who looks a little bit more emotional.”

    View Day 10 Schedule

    The Greek enters Wednesday’s meeting off a comeback, five-set win over American Taylor Fritz in the fourth round. A two-time semi-finalist in Melbourne (2019, 2021), Tsitsipas has been sharp in a return from an elbow injury that saw him follow Berrettini out of the Nitto ATP Finals. But he looked out of sorts for stretches before a mighty finish against Fritz.

    Tsitsipas blamed his struggles on passive play: “There were certain moments where I got defensive and wasn’t going for my shot too much, and I kept talking to myself and kept saying, ‘Hit the ball, go for it.’

    “That eventually was engraved in my mind. That voice became a reality in the fifth set.”

    All things considered, he’s happy with his game and confident in his ability to challenge for his first major title—seven months after falling a set short against Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final.

    “I would predict that I'm headed towards the right direction and things look good for me so far,” he assessed. “With the right mindset and with the right attitude and with the right development throughout the tournament, my chances are pretty good.”

    Tsitsipas holds a 2-1 ATPHead2Head advantage over Sinner, with all three meetings coming on clay courts during the European spring swing.

    Wednesday’s second match will see Medvedev and Auger-Aliassime square off in a rematch of their 2021 US Open semi-final, a straight-set win for the Russian. Both men enter behind four-set wins, but the pair exited the fourth round with contrasting views on their victories.

    “I’m not really happy about my, let’s call it, mentality today,” Medvedev said following a 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-5 win over American serve-and-volleyer Maxime Cressy. Over the course of the match, a frustrated Medvedev made several audible comments about his opponent’s luck, as Cressy saved a bevy of break points and struck line-clipping second serves.

    “I was a little bit harsh with Maxime, who played a really good match,” he continued. “At the same time, I'm not the only player to do it, to try to get into my opponent's head.”

    Auger-Aliassime was a 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, 7-6(4) winner over Marin Cilic. The Canadian, who was down two-sets-to-one in the opening round against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, is rounding into form as he seeks a second consecutive Slam semi-final.

    “Knowing in the back of my mind that I have the stamina, the mentality to last in matches and tournaments, of course it helps me to know that I can go deep in these types of tournaments,” he said of his Melbourne run.

    Medvedev holds a 3-0 ATP Head2Head record against the 21-year-old, with the most recent meeting come in the semi-finals of the ATP Cup. The Russian triumphed in Sydney, 6-4, 6-0, but Team Canada went on to win the competition.

    Going into what will be their third hard-court match in five months, Auger-Aliassime is uniquely prepared for one of the ultimate tests in the sport—facing Medvedev on his preferred surface.

    “The reality is he’s the best player, almost, in the world now,” the Canadian said, leaning into his underdog status. I need to, you know, play a great match. I need to be able to give a great effort both mentally and physically to go through.”

    After Wednesday’s action, the remaining men will enjoy a day off before both semi-finals take place on Friday.

  • Berrettini's Firepower Ends Monfils' Run In Five-Set Epic

    Matteo Berrettini survived a spirited Gael Monfils fight back in the early hours of Wednesday morning to become the first Italian man to reach the semi-finals at the Australian Open.

    In a heavy-hitting, all-action performance on Rod Laver Arena, Berrettini clawed past the Frenchman 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2 in an epic clash to keep his title hopes alive in Melbourne.

    “It feels unbelievable,” Berrettini said in his on-court interview. “I am really happy for myself. What a great fight against Gael. It was a great match with a lot of emotions. I thought I had him in the third set and then I found myself in the fifth. But I really fought hard and put everything on the court and that is why I am really happy.”

    The seventh seed, who is making his fifth appearance in Melbourne, mixed quality with grit, playing aggressively for large periods as he ran around his backhand to try and dictate with his powerful forehand against the athletic Monfils.

    Berrettini fired 50 winners and rallied in the decider after Monfils bombarded him with offensive tennis in the third and fourth sets to advance after three hours and 48 minutes. With his victory, the 25-year-old has improved his ATP Head2Head series against Monfils to 3-0 and will face sixth seed Rafael Nadal in the last four after the Spaniard edged Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.

    “I was just focused on winning the match,” Berrettini said. “I had a couple of break points [in the third set] and I couldn’t take them and tennis is like this. It happened with Alcaraz as well. I was leading and then they start to play better.”

    The Italian has now reached the semi-finals at three of the four Grand Slams, with his best result at a major a run to the championship match at Wimbledon last year. The 2019 US Open semi-finalist could be joined in the last four by countryman Jannik Sinner if the 11th seed defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday.

    Berrettini is now 6-2 on the season, having moved past #NextGenATP stars Brandon Nakashima, Stefan Kozlov, Carlos Alcaraz and Pablo Carreno Busta at Melbourne Park.

    🇮🇹FORZA🇮🇹@MattBerrettini punches a ticket to his first #AusOpen semifinal, outlasting Monfils 6-4 6-4 3-6 3-6 6-2

    🎥 @wwos@espn@Eurosport@wowowtennis#AO2022#AOTennis

    — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 25, 2022

    In a strong first set, Berrettini stepped inside the baseline to pull Monfils from corner to corner with his heavy groundstrokes. Despite his impressive movement, the Frenchman was unable to stay with the World No. 7, who committed just five unforced errors to move ahead.

    Fuelled with confidence, Berrettini won another mini-battle on serve at 1-2 in the second set, saving three break points as he came through a 20-minute service game to hold, letting out a roar in delight when Monfils hit a forehand long. With his foot down, the Italian then gained the decisive break on the 17th seed’s serve at 3-3 to take further control.

    The Italian managed to deal with the variety of pace Monfils offered in the first two sets, but the Frenchman started to take the game to Berrettini in the third set, swinging freely to win the set as he changed the momentum of the match.

    Monfils went on to dominate as the aggressor in the baseline exchanges in the fourth set, hitting with greater spin to force the Italian back. But Berrettini demonstrated his resilience, raising his level to win the first four games of the deciding set. He then held his nerve on serve to earn his second fifth-set victory against Monfils, having triumphed in five against the Frenchman in the last eight at the US Open in 2019.

    Monfils was aiming to reach his third Grand Slam semi-final, having advanced to the last four on home soil at Roland Garros in 2008 and the US Open in 2016.

    The World No. 20, who had not dropped a set en route to the quarter-finals, clinched his 11th tour-level title earlier this month at the Adelaide International 1 and is 8-2 on the season.

  • Shapovalov: 'I'm Happy With The Way I Was Able To Fight'

    Despite falling agonisingly short against former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open on Tuesday, Denis Shapovalov was proud of his spirited quarter-final performance in Melbourne.

    The Canadian, who was making his first appearance in the last eight at Melbourne Park, rallied from two sets down to level, before being edged 3-6 in the deciding set on Rod Laver Arena.

    “I'm happy with the way I was able to fight and come back,” Shapovalov said in his post-match press conference. “I definitely found my game late in the third and in the fourth [sets]. It's good to have more time at the Grand Slams to have opportunities to try to find your game. [It was a] good tournament for me overall.”

    The 14th seed upset World No. 3 Alexander Zverev to set up his match against Nadal, but struggled to cope with the Spaniard’s intensity in the early phases of their clash. However, he altered his tactics, showing his growing maturity as a player to claw his way back into the match.

    “I just changed things,” Shapovalov added. “I felt like I was shanking a lot of returns, so I just tried to prep a little bit higher. Once I did that, I was really seeing his serves and returning well.”

    The 22-year-old, who now trails Nadal 1-4 in their ATP Head2Head series, was ultimately left frustrated though with his level in the fifth set.

    “It just sucks to lose that one,” Shapovalov added. “I definitely felt like I had it on my racquet. And, I mean, [in the] third, fourth and fifth set, I felt like I was the better player, had more chances. [It was] just one bad game from me.”

    Nadal’s victory means he has maintained his chances of capturing a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title this week in Melbourne. When asked about the Spaniard, Shapovalov was full of admiration, acknowledging how tough of a competitor the 35-year-old still is.

    “Rafa did a good job in the last set,” Shapovalov said. “Once he broke, he held his service games and served really big. He's obviously putting a lot of pressure on you and making a lot of balls and playing aggressively when needed. Maybe other opponents would give me a little bit more freedom. It was definitely tricky.”

  • Kokkinakis/Kyrgios Continue Dream Australian Open Run

    Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios continued to make a splash on home soil Tuesday, downing sixth seeds Tim Puetz and Michael Venus 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals at the Australian Open.

    The Australians fired 25 aces and won 86 per cent (49/57) of their first-serve points to advance after two hours and 16 minutes in front of a lively crowd on Kia Arena.

    "These guys are really good. Everyone we play now, everyone we have played since we started [have been] really good opponents," Kokkinakis said. "We're stoked with this win. We came [up] big in the big points. And, yeah, obviously the guys are experienced veterans but we're going to keep playing how we play, enjoy it, have fun, and use the crowd."

    According to Kyrgios, the Aussies have been focussing less on their opponents, and more on executing their own games.

    "I just know if we play our game and we can use the crowd, use the energy, serve well, worry about us, don't worry about the external, just control what we can control, we'll be fine," Kyrgios said. "Today we knew there were going to be some ups and downs. That's a bloody good doubles pair we played today. They obviously had a great year last year. You could tell they were tough. They didn't really drop their level at all."

    The wild cards will meet Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the last four after the third seeds overcame John Peers and Filip Polasek 7-6(5), 6-4 in one hour and 49 minutes.

    The Spanish-Argentine tandem saved a set point on serve at 5-6, 30/40 in the first set, before they broke twice in the second set to seal their victory.

    Granollers and Zaballos have won six tour-level titles as a team, including three ATP Masters 1000 crowns. However, they are still searching for their first major together.

  • Nadal Slams Shapo Door Shut, Reaches SFs

    In his quest for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title, Rafael Nadal showcased the legendary fight and grit that has defined his career in a five-set Australian Open quarter-final win.

    Playing in his 14th Melbourne quarter-final, Nadal battled through to his seventh semi with a 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 win over Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in four hours and seven minutes.

    “I was completely destroyed after that,” said Nadal, who will now have a “very important” two full days of rest before taking the court again on Friday. “For me it’s amazing, honestly, to be in the semi-finals.”

    Now two wins away from a second Aussie Open men’s singles title (2009), Nadal looked set to pass his toughest test of the fortnight with flying colours in a bright pink kit. In the end, he survived an inspired comeback from the 14th seed and a troubled stomach to avoid the upset. One year after surrendering a two-set lead to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the same stage on Rod Laver Arena, Nadal was able to summon a late surge to avoid a sequel.

    In the final set, Nadal crucially broke in the second game, either side of two dramatic service holds in which he saved a combined three break points across four deuces. Conserving his reserve energy for his service games, he saw the advantage home with an array of clutch deliveries to close out the match.

    “I was lucky that I was serving great in the fifth,” said the always-humble winner, who credited Shapovalov for his aggressive play. “He was serving huge, and especially the second serve,” Nadal continued in his on-court interview.

    The Spaniard was dominant early on Tuesday in Melbourne. Entering the match with just two breaks of serve against on the fortnight, Nadal did not face a break point until the third set. With temperatures as high as 32 degrees Celsius on the show court, his heavy ground game benefitted from bouncy conditions. He was at his best in medium-length rallies, amassing a 37 to 16 edge over the course of the match on exchanges of five to eight balls.

    After winning an epic first-set tie-break against Adrian Mannarino in the fourth round, Nadal was clinical early on against Shapovalov. The Spaniard won his first five service games to 15, coupled with a break at love in the fourth game of the set. The break was given as much as it was earned, as Shapovalov followed a Nadal winner with three unforced forehand errors.

    However, the Canadian started to find traction on his serve after the early wobble, cashing in on free points to string together easy holds and assert himself in the match in set two. Defending with more success and dragging Nadal into longer rallies, Shapovalov threatened in three straight return games—including a combined four deuces—but still could not get to break point.

    One for the ages ✨

    🇪🇸 @RafaelNadal defeats Denis Shapovalov 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 to reach his seventh #AusOpen semifinal.#AO2022

    — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 25, 2022

    Nadal left the court to change into a dry kit after the second set, as Shapovalov plotted to change the course of the match. With increased aggression, the Canadian finally made his breakthrough with Nadal serving to stay in the third. He fired a menacing backhand winner to seal the set after more attacking play forced two Nadal errors.

    It was a signal of intent, as Shapovalov was firmly in the ascendancy from there. Nadal required treatment from the physio and took tablets for an apparent stomach problem prior to the fifth, but returned to show his championship mettle with a vintage final-set performance.

    The 35-year-old will take on seventh seed Matteo Berrettini in the semi-finals. The Italian outlasted Frenchman Gael Monfils in five sets.

  • How Berrettini & Sinner Are Pushing Italian Tennis Renaissance To Historic Heights

    Team Italy failed to reach the semi-finals at the ATP Cup to start 2022, but it was only a matter of time before Italians made their mark on the new season. Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner have not taken long to do just that.

    Both Berrettini and Sinner are into the Australian Open quarter-finals, where they have a chance to make more history for their country. If both men advance to the last four, it will be just the second time that multiple Italian men have reached the semi-finals at the same Grand Slam. The last time that happened was 1960 at Roland Garros, where Nicola Pietrangeli and Orlando Sirola achieved the feat. No Italian duo has done it in the Open Era.

    But perhaps what is most interesting about Berrettini and Sinner is their unique games, paths and personalities. In some ways they are similar — both men have powerful games and the utmost respect from their peers on and off the court. However, they are not carved from the same Italian stone. 

    Stefanos Tsitsipas, who will play Sinner in the quarter-finals, compared the two Italians.

    “I would consider Matteo more of a heavy server than Jannik, meaning that he does generate more power and more precision with his serve and gets more free points from his serve than Jannik,” Tsitsipas said. “Jannik, I would consider [the] more talented player from the baseline. [He] looks like he's very relaxed when he's playing. Doesn't show much tension when he's out there. Pretty cold-blooded in comparison with Matteo, who looks a little bit more emotional.”

    Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner
    Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
    That was not in any way a slight of Berrettini. In terms of personalities, Berrettini is closer to fire and Sinner is nearer to ice. Berrettini is quicker to let out a big roar and a fist pump than Sinner, who remains closer to a flatline through the highs and lows of a match.

    In their tennis, Berrettini's game is based on his huge serve and forehand, which he follows to the net when possible. Sinner is a better returner, hits big off both wings and stays on top of opponents from the baseline.

    Paolo Lorenzi, the recently retired Italian who has known both men since their early days on Tour, said that first and foremost they "are really good guys and I think that is one of the most important things".

    "I think that Jannik is a little bit more shy than Matteo, but then of course when you know him better, he jokes and has good fun. They also have a lot of things in common because they are both hard workers, they’ve had the same coach for many years and they’re becoming good friends," Lorenzi added. "I think the Davis Cup and ATP Cup helped them a lot because they are both obsessed with tennis and they both want to win a Grand Slam.

    "When you have the same goal, you can become friends and learn from each other."

    Matteo has praised his countryman's maturity.

    “Jannik is so young, but at the same time he’s so much older. He knows how to have fun, but how to put the work in at the same time,” Berrettini said. “I think what he’s doing is impressive, but I think it comes from his attitude and the way he goes through things. He’s really mature in that way, and that’s one of the reasons he’s getting crazy results.”

    In a way, Berrettini, who will play Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals, has carved the path for Sinner to follow through. After Fabio Fognini became the third Italian man to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings in 2019, Matteo quickly followed later that year following his run to the US Open semi-finals. He has not dropped from the Top 10 since.

    By advancing to the last eight at Melbourne Park, the 25-year-old Berrettini has now made at least the quarter-finals at all four majors. One more win would put him in joint second for most Slam semi-finals in history among Italian men alongside Adriano Panatta.

    “It means that I'm doing great stuff, which I never believed I could do when I was younger. I always remember being here, playing the juniors and thinking maybe I'm gonna play qualies. I don't know,” Berrettini said. “So it's a good feeling.”

    It is easy to forget, but Sinner is just 20, and he reached the Top 10 last November. When Berrettini was that age, he had never been inside the world’s Top 500.

    Sinner spent much of his early years focussing on more than one sport. Hailing from San Candido, near the Austrian border, he was one of the best skiers of his age in all of Italy. But once Jannik turned his focus to tennis in his early teens, he has not looked back. Even now, Sinner is fully focussed on the future and most importantly, improving every day.

    After Team Italy was eliminated from the ATP Cup, the World No. 10 gave a very veteran answer when a reporter asked what his plans were for the week ahead of the Australian Open.

    "I don't know yet," Sinner said, before cracking a smile. "But I think practice every day."

  • The Inner Voice That Helped Tsitsipas Reach Australian Open QFs

    Stefanos Tsitipas’ back was against the wall in the fourth round of the Australian Open against Taylor Fritz, but the Greek’s inner voice helped save the day.

    “I felt like there were certain moments where I got defensive and wasn't going for my shots too much, and I kept talking to myself and kept saying, ‘Hit the ball, go for it’,” Tsitsipas said. “That eventually was kind of engraved in my mind. That voice kind of became a reality in the fifth set.

    “I came to the conclusion that I cannot be too defensive, I cannot stay in the rallies too much. I have to make him move and I have to be aggressive at the same time.”

    That mindset worked, as Tsitsipas rallied past the American 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach his third Australian Open quarter-final. In the deciding fifth set, he made just four unforced errors to complete his triumph after three hours and 23 minutes.

    “It was very tough, and I had to deal with these moments in the best way. Being able to overcome these difficulties required a lot of mental toughness, and I think I did the right things at these points and managed it very well. It was a great comeback,” Tsitsipas said. “It was a match with a lot of emotions, and I had to keep constantly reminding myself to stay in it and try and find solutions to all these problems, because there was heavy hitting, there were lots of rallies. Serves, big serves from both sides. So there were a lot of things going on.”

    Overall, Tsitsipas struck 53 winners to just 44 unforced errors, a solid performance against an in-form Fritz. The American, who was competing in the fourth round of a major for the first time, showed little fear of the moment. He hit 52 winners to put Tsitsipas in trouble in the first place.

    But the fourth seed dug deep and played the better tennis when it mattered most. Tsitsipas has put to rest discussions about his elbow, which hovered over him early in the season when he did not play his first singles match at the ATP Cup.

    “I missed two weeks of preseason, which was not too bad, because the doctor predicted otherwise,” Tsitsipas said. “My recovery was faster than anyone would have thought it would have been. My recovery was very surprising to my doctor.”

    Stefanos Tsitsipas
    Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
    Tsitsipas’ determination has been impressive Down Under, and he is now into the last eight at the Australian Open for the third time in four years. The 23-year-old said it was an emotional win for him, and that he played better with those emotions.

    “I was able to sustain that emotion and was able to deal with it in the best way. I think the crowd was very important today, encouraging me and giving me their energy from start to finish,” Tsitsipas said. “They [played] a big role in today's success and overcoming the difficult obstacles that was presented to me throughout the entirety of the match.”

    Next up for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion will be 11th seed Jannik Sinner. Tsitsipas leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head series 2-1.

  • The Last Time With... Denis Shapovalov

    Denis Shapovalov upset two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals and earn a clash against 20-time major titlist Rafael Nadal.

    Before the match, get to know the Canadian in’s newest ‘Last Time’ Q&A. Shapovalov discusses a meeting with Canadian basketball legend Steve Nash, his cooking skills and more.

    When was the last time you watched a sporting event live?
    The Toronto Raptors when they were playing in Tampa [Florida]. It is tough to follow when I am in Europe, but I definitely follow the Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs as much as possible.

    When was the last time you met one of your idols?
    Steve Nash. I met him in San Diego [during the tournament last year]. He was doing an exhibition and he was running into the club, so I got to meet him for a minute or two. That was really, really cool.

    He said he was a big fan of mine, which was really weird to hear because I am a big fan of his. He is an icon in Canada and basketball. He is very well known in Canada and well looked up to.

    When was the last time you strung a racquet?
    Probably when I was seven years old. I remember doing a bad job and my dad taking over. I never tried again.

    When was the last time you had to hire a court?
    Maybe when I was 13 or 14. Back home in Toronto.

    When was the last time you went to a concert?
    Believe it or not I have only been to one concert in my life. It was three or four years ago. I went to a G-Eazy concert in Cincinnati.

    When was the last time you watched Netflix?
    I watched The Office. My favourite character might be Dwight.

    When was the last time you have missed a flight?
    I have never missed a flight.

    When was the last time you lost something important?
    I lost my phone about 20 minutes before this interview, but I found it!

    When was the last time you cooked?
    Oh, I am a terrible cook. I actually make breakfast for my girlfriend. That is about my cooking skills. I make an omelette and some nice toast. That is my level right there.

    When was the last time I asked someone for a selfie?
    I don’t ask my girlfriend for a selfie, she asks me. Probably with the team. Take a team selfie pic.