MELBOURNE, Australia — A veteran right-hander with an all-court recreation and a one-handed backhand, the hands-down finest participant of his interval, was attempting to dodge an upset in a fourth-round match of a Grand Slam occasion in opposition to a former junior world No. 1 with prolonged hair, a flowing one-handed backhand and no fear.
In their first official head-to-head meeting, Pete Sampras, then 29, could not preserve off a 19-year-old Roger Federer, who acquired in 5 items at Wimbledon in 2001.
On Sunday night on the Australian Open, Federer, the two-time defending champion, was the one attempting all through the web at a youthful, brisker, further fearless mannequin of himself. And like Sampras 18 years earlier, Federer had no reply for his fourth-round opponent, Stefanos Tsitsipas, a former junior world No. 1 from Greece who despatched him packing with a 6-7 (11), 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6
(5) defeat of their first official head-to-head meeting.
Federer was the 15th seed in 2001 when he beat Sampras, the best seed and a seven-time Wimbledon champion. Tsitsipas, 20, is the 14th seed and the youngest participant remaining throughout the males’s draw. With the victory, Tsitsipas foiled the 37-year-old Federer’s bid to become the oldest man to attain the quarterfinals proper right here as a result of the 43-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1977.
“I lost to a better player who was playing very well tonight,” talked about the third-seeded Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, along with six titles in Australia. “He hung in there, gave himself chances at some point, stayed calm. It’s not always easy, especially for younger guys. Credit to him for taking care of that.”
The match lasted 3 hours 45 minutes, nevertheless Federer primarily cinched his future two hours in, after he squandered eight break elements, along with three on unforced errors, to offer Tsitsipas adequate of a spot to squeeze earlier him throughout the second set.
“It definitely didn’t go the way I was hoping on the break points,” talked about Federer, who saved searching for a weak level to benefit from solely to see his strengths mirrored once more at him.
Tsitsipas appeared eminently cozy on the web and he matched Federer winner for winner on the forehand side, with 15.
“He did a nice job of taking care of his half volleys,” Federer talked about. “That’s maybe what won him the match tonight, I’m not sure.”
Perhaps satisfaction saved Federer from equivocating. The distinction throughout the match was Tsitsipas’s youthful vitality, which he oozed alongside together with his every Tigger-like step. Federer merely couldn’t match it from the first degree to the ultimate, a backhand that he netted.
Federer wasted no time after the match ending his media obligations, leaving the clear impression that he couldn’t put this loss in his rearview mirror fast adequate. His eyes grew glassy as his data conference wore on, as if his feelings in regards to the loss had traveled from his mouth to his marrow.
“I have massive regrets, you know, tonight,” talked about Federer, who moreover launched he meant to play some events on clay this spring after skipping clay-court season the earlier two years. “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.”
Tsitsipas, who trains on the academy of Patrick Mouratoglou, whose best-known pupil is the 23-time most important winner Serena Williams, was happy with the psychological toughness he confirmed in warding off a dozen break elements in all.
“I could have cracked at any moment,” he talked about, “but I didn’t because I really wanted it bad.”
Tsitsipas talked about he believed from the first degree that he would possibly pull off the upset and described the victory as “a beginning of something really big.”
Tsitsipas broke onto the scene remaining yr by reaching the final word of the Rogers Cup in Toronto in August, defeating 4 top-10 players, along with Novak Djokovic, on the best way wherein.
Tsitsipas is throughout the quarterfinals of a critical for the first time. He will face 22d-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, 30, who may even be collaborating in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
John McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, carried out the post-match, on-court interview with Tsitsipas and described his victory as a altering of the guard.
“I’ve heard that story the last 10 years,” Federer talked about. “From that standpoint, nothing new.”
He had a level. Consider Grigor Dimitrov, now 27, who made it to the quarterfinals proper right here in 2014. He misplaced Sunday to Frances Tiafoe and is 0 for 34 in majors.
Before Dimitrov, there was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, now 33, who misplaced to Novak Djokovic throughout the 2008 remaining proper right here and hasn’t superior to a special Grand Slam remaining.
Even a participant like Andy Murray, whose sterling career included most important titles and wins over Federer, fell wanting Federer’s gold customary.
So, positive, the torch has been handed, solely to get extinguished. But there was a contact of resignation in Federer’s voice and a droop in his shoulders all through his data conference that belied the breeziness of his rebuttal to McEnroe’s comment.
“About Stefanos, I think he’s definitely done a really nice job now the last year and a half,” Federer talked about, together with, “I see him definitely being high up in the game for a long time. This was a good night for him tonight.”
After Sampras misplaced to Federer at Wimbledon, he acquired yet one more most important, the 2002 United States Open, then retired. How many further prospects will Federer get to develop his legacy?
Federer appeared irked when he was requested if he would possibly see just a little little bit of himself in Tsitsipas, the son of two tennis coaches, who has described Federer as his childhood idol.
“He has a one-handed backhand and I used to have long hair, too,” Federer talked about. “Yeah, so maybe a little bit, sure.”