Greek world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas proved he’s a genuine threat to take out his first major with a classy quarter-final performance on Rod Laver Arena.
The 24-year-old overcame one of the tournament’s surprise packets in Czech Jiri Lehecka 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-4 to reach his fourth semi-final at Melbourne Park from seven attempts. Tsitsipas remains undefeated in 2023 and has only dropped two sets thus far at the Australian Open, fully believing that he’s ready to take home his first major title.
“I'm feeling great with my tennis,” Tsitsipas said in his post-match press conference.
“I don't think I felt so good in a long time. I will definitely say yes to it (breaking through for his first major).”
The third seed is in ominous touch and presents the most significant hurdle for the 21-time major champion on the other side of the draw. If you’re a gambler, you’d be foolish to bet against Tsitsipas making his second major final - especially in this vein of form.
“I've said it, I'm a different player, playing different. My mentality is different. When I'm out on the court, I don't really think of negatives, to be honest. I just go out there and play the game,” Tsitsipas added.
“I approach every single opponent of mine with the same mindset. I never put labels on them.
“Each and every match that I get to play against them is a new chapter in my book.”
In his previous two final-four appearances at Melbourne Park he’s been soundly beaten by fierce rival Daniil Medvedev, but thanks to Sebastian Korda, he won’t have to deal with that this time around.
Instead, the penultimate barrier comes in the form of another Russian, world No. 20 Karen Khachanov who’s in arguably the best form of his career - his back-to-back major semi-final appearances are a testament to that.
Medvedev aside, the most glaring stat in favour of Tsitsipas reaching the final of the Australian Open is his 5-0 H2H record against Khachanov.
Adding to that is his sparkling form and the desire to create special memories in Melbourne.
“It's a match that I'm looking forward to. It's great to be back in the semifinals,” Tsitsipas said.
“Of course, I'm definitely happy with the way I've been playing so far. I'm looking ahead for more, for better. Looking to create some magical experiences here in Australia.”
One of the noticeable differences in Tsitsipas’ game this year has been his mindset and the joy with which he plays. In the past he’s let his emotions get the better of him, particularly against Medvedev and more notably against Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon last year.
“I feel great. I feel great. I've been playing some good tennis. The thing that I talked about with the mindset, it's also the perspective that you get to see things from,” he said.
“There is this one sort of way of looking at tennis that you're really exhausted after every match. Every single thing you try to do on the court takes a lot of effort. “There's this other version of tennis where you're doing your job, but you're enjoying it so much you don't care if it's exhausting or not. You're refreshed by it every single time.
“It's just this whole dynamic that has made me very hungry and has created a lot of desire for me to be playing tennis, wanting to achieve new things.”
In this sort of form and mindset, it’ll take one heck of a performance to deny the 2021 Roland Garros finalist his maiden Grand Slam title.