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[3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) def [18] Karen Khachanov 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3

Stefanos Tsitsipas has won through to his maiden Australian Open final, after a four-set win over Russian Karen Khachanov.

The Greek – who first made major headlines at Melbourne Park in 2019 after beating third seed Roger Federer – will finally play on the Australian Open’s biggest stage, after three previous semi-final exits.

“Being in the finals here means a lot,” Tsitsipas told the media post-match.

“Having started here as one of my first junior Grand Slams and being now in the finals of the men's event, is as important as my very first steps that I took on the tennis court.

“I'm going to grasp this opportunity and get myself ready for this big day.”

The 24-year-old – who often seems like an experienced veteran down under – did what was needed in his sixth major semi-final to overcome Khachanov in three hours and twenty-one minutes.

From the outset, Tsitsipas appeared the more aggressive player – taking just four games to break the eighteenth seed.

However, the contest flared when Khachanov broke straight back with an assertive return game of his own, levelling the first set at 3-3.

A further exchange of breaks – mixed amid two Tsitsipas time violations and a foot fault – lead to a first set tiebreak, which the Greek took in flawless fashion.

A more straight-forward second set saw eight service holds, before the 24-year-old drew first blood with a crucial break at 4-4.

The break was marked by a point at 15-30, which saw Tsitsipas retrieve multiple overheads before striking a forehand winner – creating the loudest roar of the match inside Rod Laver Arena.

Two sets to the good – a position from which the Greek has only lost once in his career, coming against Djokovic in the 2021 Roland Garros final – Tsitsipas slightly relented.

After again finding a pivotal break in the third – this time earlier in the set – the now two-time major finalist was unable to serve it out on the first time of asking.

Forced to close out the match in a tiebreak, Tsitsipas gave himself two opportunities at 6-4 – both of which were fended off by Khachanov with remarkable forehand winners – before the Russian took it 8-6 to force a fourth set.

The Greek then reset instantly – winning the first three games of the fourth to again cease control of the encounter.

On the second time of asking at 5-3, Tsitsipas enjoyed a more comfortable service hold to put him back into a Grand Slam singles final.

The two-time Monte-Carlo Masters champion will now face either Novak Djokovic or Tommy Paul on Sunday evening.

If the likely Djokovic matchup does come to fruition, Tsitsipas will be seeking to overturn a 2-10 head-to-head, however he has pushed the 21-time-major champion to five sets in their two Grand Slam meetings.

“[I] couldn't be more ready for this moment to be faced against a player perhaps that has won here a lot of times,” Tsitsipas said.


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