Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas had been compared to one of the tennis greats Rafael Nadal before his great win against Roger Federer.
Now, it appears that he will have to surpass Nadal and become his own player if he is to reach the holy grail of the Australian Open final.
Nadal, the 32-year-old from Mallorca defeated Francis Tiafoe on Wednesday night (6-3, 6-4, 6-2), to reach the semi-finals in style, and he has not yet lost a single set in the competition.
The difficulty level seems to have peaked for Tsitsipas as Nadal appears to be determined to win the Australian Open, the only one out of the four Grand Slam tournaments that he has previously only conquered once in his largely successful career (2009).
Nadal is currently ranked number two in the world under Novak Djokovic – a potential opponent for Tsitsipas if he makes it to the finals – and has won the French Open 11 times, the US Open 3 times, and twice at Wimbledon. He has also won the gold medal in the Olympic games of Beijing (2008). Stefanos Tsitsipas does not have a good record against his famous opponent, as he lost both times they met last year at the Barcelona Open (2-6, 1-6) and the Canadian Open (2-6, 6-7).
Tsitsipas is confident
Despite his rival’s great reputation and huge success on the courts, the 20-year-old Greek sensation believes he can take him on. In statements he made after yesterday’s victory against Bautista Agut, Tsitsipas revealed that he knows the secret against Nadal’s play-style: “I got really stubborn last time I lost (against him.) That’s when I told myself that the next time I get the opportunity to play him, I need to do better. I said then that I can beat him, because I know how he plays. I didn’t want that to come out wrong, but I really feel like I can do it. I have really studied the strategies he uses and it’ll be a great joy to just go out there, play some good tennis and leave with the win. I really want this.”
The moment of truth will come tomorrow night at 7.30 at the “Rod Laver Arena” and once again, all of Greece will be watching as the young boy from Vouliagmeni fights for his place among the greats.