Stefanos Tsitsipas has won arguably the point of the Australian Open as he reached his maiden grand final with a win over Karen Khachanov. Tsitsipas got off to a brillaint start against the Russian as was looking to reach his second grand slam final.
The World No.4 took the first set in a tight tiebreak and appeared to take it up a level in the second. At 4-4 in the second, the match took a turn during an incredible rally.
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Khachanov forced Tsitsipas right back on Rod Laver Arena with the 24-year-old running back-and-forth in the shade. Khachanov had not only, not two, but three overhead smashes to end the point.
However, Tsitsipas returned all three and somehow turned defence into attack. The World No.4 then hit a remarkable cross court forehand winner to win one of the points of the tournament.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 27, 2023
— Eugenia Tomás (@EugeniaToms1) January 27, 2023
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 27, 2023
Incredible defense from Tsitsipas. But you can’t really lose this point at 4-4 15-30. Match most likely finished here. pic.twitter.com/rZ5L62xgXb
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 27, 2023
The match wasn't without its drama. Tsitsipas was called early on for a foot fault. After brushing off the first foot fault, he was then called two more times.
This sparked confusion as Tsitsipas approached the chair umpire to question why he was receiving foot faults when he didn't believe he was stepping over the line. Courier said Tsitsipas had: "Moved closer to that line, compared to past years. He is hedging his bets."
But after committing multiple foot faults, Lleyton Hewitt pointed out that the World No.4 was clearly unaware how close his back foot was to the middle line.
'I don't think he knows," Lleyton Hewitt said. The chair umpire quickly explained to Tsitsipas why he was being faulted.
Stefanos Tsitsipas reaches Australian Open final
It was a case of fourth time lucky for Tsitsipas, who fell at the semi-final hurdle in three of his previous four appearances at what he regards as his 'home' major in Melbourne.
"I feel blessed for the fact that I'm able to play tennis at this level," the 24-year-old said. I've been wanting for many years now to put Greek tennis on the map, and me and Maria (Sakkari) have done an incredible job, I think.
"I know it probably doesn't mean as much for Australians because you've been always producing players and they've always had their fair share of top players. But coming from a small country like Greece, I'm so grateful that I get support like this.
"I would have never thought I'd be treated so well here, so I'm extremely happy that I'm in the final now, and let's see what happens." The World No.4 was in control against his opponent when he was cautioned for running down the serve clock. Tsitsipas is known to push the time limit and often receives a warning.
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