Stefanos Tsitsipas clenches his fist and is in the semifinals of the Australian Open for the third time in a row.
The duel between world number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas and the up-and-coming Czech Jiri Lehecka was eagerly awaited. The latter has already eliminated three seeds: Borna Coric (No. 21), Cameron Norrie (No. 11) and Felix Auger-Aliassime (No. 6).
However, there is no herb against Tsitsipas. The 2021 French Open finalist has the game under control at all times and wins 6: 3, 7: 6, 6: 4 after 2:17 hours. Only in the second round does the world number 71 sniff at winning a set. The tiebreak goes without a hitch with 7: 1 to the 24-year-old from Athens.
For the third time in a row – and for the fourth time in total – Tsitsipas is contesting the semi-finals Down Under on Friday. He hasn’t won any of them yet.
Korda has to give up
In the other men’s quarter-final, surprise man Sebastian Korda has to give up against the Russian Karen Chatschanov (ATP 20) because of a wrist injury – hopelessly behind (6: 7, 3: 6, 0: 3).
“After a return in the second set, I had trouble holding my racket,” explained the American at the press conference. Already at the tournament in Adelaide, where Korda lost to Novak Djokovic in the final, he had pain in his wrist. So far, however, these have not been a problem at the Australian Open.
The Russian Khachanov regularly delivers his best performances at the biggest tournaments. He is one of only ten active players on the tour – and one ahead of just two under-30s (alongside Matteo Berrettini) – to have reached the quarterfinals of all four Grand Slam tournaments. Against Tsitsipas it should now be enough for the final for the first time.
From secret favorite to title favorite
The women’s first two semi-finalists have also been determined. For example, Kazakh Jelena Rybakina at the Australian Open proves that her Wimbledon victory last summer was no coincidence. After the 6:4, 6:4 win over Iga Swiatek (WTA 1) in the round of 16, the WTA number 25 also leaves Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia with 6:2, 6:4 no chance.
Rybakina may just be an outsider because of her world ranking at the Australian Open. But: If world ranking points had been distributed in Wimbledon last summer, Rybakina would have been in the top 10 for sure. The WTA and ATP fined the Wimbledon organizers in this way for excluding Russian and Belarusian players.
In Melbourne, the 23-year-old wins five singles in a row for the first time since winning the tournament at the All England Club. On the way to the semi-finals, Rybakina only gave up one set – against last year’s finalist Danielle Collins.
Now a double Melbourne winner is waiting
Now Rybakina meets Belarusian Viktoria Asarenka (WTA 24), who won the tournament in Melbourne ten and eleven years ago. Since successfully defending her title in 2013, no player has won the Australian Open twice in a row.
Asarenka eliminated American Jessica Pegula (WTA 3) in straight sets in the semifinals, leaving Aryna Sabalenka, who knocked out Belinda Bencic, as the last top 10 player in the tableau. (SDA)
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