Stefanos Tsitsipas survives Jannik Sinner fightback to win Australian Open thriller

Third seed taken to five sets by Italian but will now face unseeded Jiri Lehecka for place in last four

Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates after beating Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park, on January 22, 2023. Getty
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Stefanos Tsitsipas fought off an impressive fightback from Jannik Sinner before finally securing his Australian Open quarter-final spot on Sunday.

The third seed battled to a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 triumph over Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner on Rod Laver Arena in a match that lasted more than four hours.

Tsitsipas, who extended his win-streak to eight matches, took inspiration from the watching Rod Laver in the face a ferocious comeback from Sinner.

“I just stayed really calm, just like Mr Rod Laver used to do in his day,” said the Greek, who is now the highest remaining men's seed left in action at Melbourne Park.

“It was a long match, I felt like I spent an entire century on this court playing tennis.

“What a great night. That was superb, 'a ripper' as they say here. I'm really excited to be sharing moments like this on the court, especially in Australia.

“I'm trying to do my best out here, it's not easy. I had an unbelievable opponent on the other side of the court today.”

Tsitsipas, who is pursuing a first Grand Slam crown, will now face the unseeded Jiri Lehecka for a place in the semi-finals.

Czech world No 71 Lehecka defeated sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in four sets in yet another surprise result, following the exits of top two Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud.

“After losing in the first round last year, if someone had told me before the tournament that I would be playing like this, I wouldn't have believed them,” said Lehecka. “I'm super happy and excited.”

Giant-killer Sebastian Korda surged into a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final and faces 18th-seeded Karen Khachanov of Russia.

The 22-year-old American, who defeated Daniil Medvedev in the previous round, edged out 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 7-6.

Korda, whose father Petr won the 1998 Australian Open under the Czech flag, said: “Those are the toughest points to win … those last three there. They’re brutal in a way.”

The younger Korda has made it a point to reach out and tap signs marking the titles won by his dad and by mentor Andre Agassi in the hallway leading to the court in Rod Laver Arena.

“Every single time I walk by, I always give … a little fist bump,” Korda said. “Kind of makes me feel like they’re with me, in a way. I always know that they’re watching. They’re both very special for me. They helped me a ton.”

Updated: January 22, 2023, 2:07 PM
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