Jan/19

20

Tsitsipas Dethrones King Federer

By Jayita A. Belcourt

In a day of upsets that saw Sharapova, Kerber, Cilic and Dimitrov ousted from competition, the trend continued with 14th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas leading the charge in the most monumental wins of the tournament. Taking down tennis great, Roger Federer 6-7 (11-13), 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 7-5 (7-5) in 3 hours 45 minutes, the 20- year old sensationally booked his spot in the quarter-finals.

The Greek youngster, who admits he meticulously “analysed” Federer since the age of 6, came out strong and bursting with self-belief executing 20 aces in the match, 62 winners and saving all 12 of the Swiss’s break points on route to victory. According to tennis legend and match commentator John McEnroe, Tsitsipas’ performance was nothing short of brilliant.

“His composure has been amazing so far,” McEnroe commented in the 4th set. “It looked to me like he believed he could win this match”. “He’s been battling from the first point and it’s paid off. His level has got better and better.”

Clearly elated with his performance tonight, Tsitsipas, who is the first player from Greece to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal, was lost for words but quick to affirm McEntroe’s insights into the match.

“There is nothing I can describe it. I mean, I am the happiest man on earth right now. I cannot describe it,” he said post-match interview.

“I actually, from the very beginning that’s very important to keep that mindset when you’re on the court to go in to believe in yourself, believe in your capabilities, what you have, your abilities as a player.”

“It was a dream come true for me just being on Rod Laver facing him, and I mean winning at the end, I cannot describe it you know.”

Understandably, in high hopes of defending his Australian Open title, tonight’s loss was a hard pill to swallow for the 20-time grand slam champion who struggled to capitalize in the key moments of the match.

“I have massive regrets, you know, tonight. I might not look the part, but I am. I felt like I have to win the second set. I don’t care how I do it, but I have to do it. Cost me the game tonight,” Federer said.

“It definitely didn’t go the way I was hoping on the breakpoints. I also didn’t break him at the Hopman Cup, so clearly something is wrong how I return him, what I’m trying to do.”
“Nethertheless, it’s very frustrating, yeah”.

So is this the beginning of the permanent rise of the new faces of the sport? And was tonight the last we will see of Federer in Melbourne Park? By the look of Roger’s teary gaze at press, one must wonder. Up next Tsitsipas will face 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

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15 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 20, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    There is a chance Tsitsipas could become even better than Federer when all is said and done. That possibility can’t be ruled out. Just like the rare experts who sensed young Federer could achieve more than Pete Sampras. Most thought that was impossible and crazy but it happened. Tsitispas is that good, that impressive, that talented and that mature. He’s capable of ANYTHING. ANY. THING.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 20, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    I was one of those guys who predicted early on that Federer could and would achieve more than Sampras and Steve Flink used to good naturedly mock such a notion. But look what happened. Federer did it. Tsitsipas can break many many records.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 20, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Johan Kriek on Tsitsipas:
    Tsitsipas is playing top 3 tennis….the first time I saw him play I said he would be a top 5 player and most likely will win a major before Zverev…..
    Is this his “breakthrough” major?
    Zverev and Tsitsipas will carry the ATP torch forward. Exciting player to watch…. plays much more “free” which is artistic in it’s optics… great for fans!
    He will be the superstar we have been waiting for. What a match!

  • Wayne Bradford · January 20, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Just a sad day in the tennis world to lose in the 4th round to Tsitsipas. It should have been a straight-set win but Roger just didn’t take his chances and he let the weaker player defeat him. It is a major blow for all of us.

    I believe it is a mistake for Roger to play in Paris as he prepares for Wimbledon. It tells me that he isn’t interested in winning tournaments anymore and just wants to enter tournaments without the intention of winning. I guess it’s fine but it’s hard to accept that our great Fed will soon have to move on.

    The saving grace yesterday was Tiafoe winning. But that was problematic too. Here we have a charismatic African-American player and the match was not televised here in the United States. What a shame, Tiafoe could inspire further African-Americans in the sport. ESPN is truly ruining tennis in the country and it is no surprise that participation rates are down with this awful coverage.

    ESPN is the absolute worst for tennis.

  • Wayne Bradford · January 20, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    I can’t get over going 0 for 12 on break points. What are the odds? Tsitsipas really got lucky with that. Plus his injury time outs and slow play were really irksome. I can’t say I will root for him in the future, especially referring to himself in the third person in front of the media. I know he is good looking and the women love him but come on.

    Plus he pretends like he has some unique gameplan for Fed. If the plan was to not get broken in 12 tries, he is truly a genius. Some people win and make up the reasons why and Tsitsipas looks that way.

  • Michael In Uk · January 20, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Terrific win for Tsitsipas, and surely we can allow him the pleasure and pride in that victory without complaining?
    BBC media here in UK using their favourite phrase “major upset”, but a defeat like this for Fed is not such a surprise, it can happen anytime and Fed has said as much himself I think.
    Update!! BBC sports radio has just said Fed has announced he will play the clay court season, and that he says he has missed it (feels sad that etc) these past 2 years.

    Does anyone else thinks that Nadal and Kvitova are going to win the Aus Open? I do.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 20, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Tiafoe is a superstar now. He has the rare ability to turn a stadium into a frenzy. He did it again last night beating Dimitrov, he electrified that stadium like only Jimbo and Bagdhatis could. That is rare company for Tiafoe. He is a great player with a boxing champion’s will to win. He is the closest thing to a boxer I have ever seen in tennis. The start from humble beginnings, the hard work ethic, the steady progress paying his dues and learning his trade and now the rewards are paying off. He is such a great fighter out there and he wills his way to win, hitting big shots, getting to net, remarkable courage under pressure against more experienced players. This guy Tiafoe can take down Rafa. He can win majors. Yes he can win majors. This is just the beginning. Stunning to see how complete Tiafoe’s game is now and how he can rocket forehand winners suddenly. Sky is the limit. He can take down Rafa.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 20, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Federer did not choke those break points, Tsitsipas was just better. Federer played excellent tennis but the younger man has the looser limbs and that fraction more pop on his shots. But most of all Tsitsipas had the right mindset from the first ball, that he could win the match and he should win the match. This was the biggest match of his life and it inspired his very best tennis. For Federer it was just another match trying to get to the second week of a major. Same deal as Pete vs Roger at Wimbledon. Just another match for Pete, the biggest moment of young Roger’s career. This win will propel Tsitsipas to tennis greatness.

  • Chazz · January 20, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    “Does anyone else thinks that Nadal and Kvitova are going to win the Aus Open? I do.”

    Yeah, I said that in another thread.

  • Hartt · January 21, 2019 at 12:37 am

    Milos just beat Sascha in SS, 6-1, 6-1, 7-6. Sascha was truly terrible in the first two sets, but raised his level in the third, so Milos had to work hard to win that one. Milos served very well, but also played well at the net. He will face either Pouille or Coric.

  • catherine · January 21, 2019 at 1:07 am

    Oh dear – not a good tournament for Germany. But a great one for Canada Hartt 🙂

  • Hartt · January 21, 2019 at 7:50 am

    As you can imagine, I was thrilled with this result, and I was especially happy to see Milos play so well. If he can manage to avoid injury for a while Milos should have an excellent season. Milos will face Pouille, who won a close match vs Coric.

    Gabriela Dabrowski, along with Mate Pavic, is the defending champ in mixed doubles, and they won their first match. Often Gaby is the last Canadian standing, so I hope this time Milos can stay at least as long as Gaby.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 21, 2019 at 8:32 am

    I knew Raonic would beat Zverev, he must be a reader of this site and has adopted my suggestions to show more fire and emotion and burning desire on the court instead of being a robot. I tweeted him my articles on this and it looks like he’s applied it to his court demeanor. He showed that massive fire early in the tournament and he plays better when he’s a beast instead of a gentleman robot.

  • Michael In UK · January 21, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Yes Scoop, I do recall you saying that Milos should stop being Mr Nice Guy and emote more on court!

    I started taking more interest in Milos after he said in an interview that on tour when time allowed, he liked visiting art galleries.

    And his game has got so much better to watch now that he comes to the net much more.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 21, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Michael, and it’s paying big dividends for Raonic, he looks more formidable, ferocious and dangerous when he expresses his intensity, he looked weaker and timid when he played like a robotic gentleman. Gotta get down and dirty to get to the top of the ATP, it’s the only way. Who are your favorite artists? Mine are Raoul Dufy, Henrik Godsk, David Banegas, LeRoy Neiman, Claude Monet, Picasso.

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