Tsitsipas, the main seed remaining in the draw, will face Russian Karen Khachanov (N. 20) to try to get to the final in Melbourne for the first time, a city with a large Greek community where he says he feels “at home “.
“It was a very difficult three-setter, one of the most difficult so far in the tournament,” said the Greek on court. “Jiri has had a great tournament, he has started to play very well recently,” he added.
With much more experience, the 24-year-old Greek knew what to do against a 21-year-old opponent who had never gone past a Grand Slam first round before: press the return until he got a break and protect his serve, with which he did not concede. only one break opportunity in the entire first set.
Instead, although it was after five break points, he managed to break serve on the Czech’s first serve and go up 2-0 after saving a forehand that looked like a winner from Lehecka with a lob that his opponent couldn’t return.
After giving up more than half of the points played on second serves, Lehecka honed the first serves in the next set and charged the game over the Greek’s backhand, who was frustrated at not being able to find shots with his powerful forehand.
Even with 1-2 in favor, the Czech had 15-40 and three advantages that he did not know how to take advantage of. They were the only break points in a set that was decided in the tiebreak where Tsitsipas, especially reliable at critical moments in this tournament, showed his best level.
Opening up his court position to make room to his right, Tsitsipas clearly dominated the tie-break and, after going 6-1 in favor, closed on second set point with a cross-over drive for the match.
In the third round, against an opponent who offered much more resistance than that reflected on the scoreboard, the Greek once again saved a limit situation with a 0-40 loss in the seventh game (3-3).
And when everything seemed headed for another tiebreaker, he took advantage of four unforced errors in a game by the Czech to break his serve and close the last set after 2 hours and 17 minutes of play.