Stefanos Tsitsipas pulled off an astonishing and near unprecedented comeback at the Australian Open, knocking off Rafael Nadal to reach the semifinals.
Second seed Nadal was on course for a comfortable victory before Tsitsipas turned the match around to prevail 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-5 in a seismic upset.
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“I focused on staying calm and holding my nerves today. I have failed to do so in some of my matches [in the past],” said Tsitsipas. “I stayed calm in the tight moments and I kept everything to myself. I am really happy with the attitude that I showed on the court.”
Rafael Nadal, who saw his quest for a record 21st Grand Slam championship crown come to an end on Wednesday, was left to rue missed opportunities in his five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I missed a couple of balls in the [third set] tie-break that I could not miss if I wanted to win,” said Nadal. “The whole issue is I missed an easy smash at the beginning of the third-set [tie-break], an easy forehand at 2/1 in the tie-break, and then another smash in that tie-break
“I think Stefanos played great in the fourth and fifth sets. I tried my best in every single moment, with the right attitude… I think I stayed positive all the time during the match, fighting. And [it] was not enough. Sometimes it’s enough. Today, [it] was not enough.”
Nadal’s loss guarantees that Novak Djokovic will remain as World No. 1 through at least 8 March, when he will overtake Roger Federer to set a new record of 311 total weeks at No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
Tsitsipas will meet red-hot Russian Daniil Medvedev for a place in the championship match. Medvedev extended his winning streak to 19 matches on Wednesday, when he defeated ATP Cup teammate Andrey Rublev 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.