Stefanos Tsitsipas has been lauded for his switch of gameplan which helped him hold off a rampant Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open fourth round.
Tsitsipas started the match serving with incredible accuracy, landing a high rate of first serves.
That accuracy and Tsitsipas’ mastery of spin powered him to a two set lead.
However, Sinner’s power put Tsitsipas on the back foot and he restored parity by claiming the third and fourth sets.
Reeling Tsitsipas fought back by sacrificing accuracy for power and claimed the win in a five-setter that reminds us why Grand Slam tennis is special.
From the start, there appeared to be little separating the two players despite their contrasting styles.
While Tim Henman praised Tsitsipas’ tactical awareness he was also eager to give credit to Sinner for being involved in a great Australian Open match.
“The first four sets were a match of two halfs,” Henman said while reviewing the contest on Eurosport.
“It was Tsitsipas that was really dominating the play and you felt like he had the upper hand. It was more impressive.
“But I think Sinner deserves a lot of credit because he didn’t get down on himself.
“He really kept fighting, kept his energy up and then he was the one that was that was really on top and in third and fourth sets and it was interesting to hear Tsitsipas talking about releasing his arm, really letting go with the serve to try and generate more power and I think that early part of the fifth he was able to wrestle the momentum back from Sinner and find a way to come out on top.”
Seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander was also a big fan of Tsitsipas changing his approach.
“I think that now that we know that that was what we was trying to do [the release his wrist strategy], and what he was thinking in the fifth set, he was going a little more crosscourt with his forehand which is being a little bit more aggressive. He was opening up the court because Sinner was dominating and especially in the third set and it seemed like Tsitsipas completely changed.
“From that point on [changing his strategy] Tsitsipas was dictating because he released his wrist and was able to go cross-court forehand.
So that’s very clever [releasing his wrist], whether that’s Stefanos, whether it’s a coaching tip, whatever. Tactically, that was absolutely spot on. It’s something that he didn’t do in the third and the fourth and allowed Sinner to come back.”
Wilander feels that it was important for Tsitsipas to win this clash given how he has gone recently when facing the ATP Tour’s younger stars.
He felt it was significant that Tsitsipas did not break down or captitulate after being put under pressure.
Wilander lauded the Greek’s mental strength.
He added: “Mentally really strong effort by Tsitsipas.
“And mentally, a really important effort because he struggled the last time he played Carlos Alcaraz.
“He’s lost the last two times to Holger Rune.
“He’s lost the last time he played Carlos Alcaraz but it’s really important he’s sort of stamped his authority. ‘Okay, guys, I have to beat these guys. They’re younger than me and they’re going to take away my chance of winning my first slam.'”
“So I think more than making great choices towards the end of that match. Just the fact that he beat this young and up and coming guy is huge for Stefanos Tsitsipas as number three seed.”
If Tsitsipas can claim his first career Grand Slam in Australia he will also become the new World No 1.
Watch every match from the Australian Open live and exclusive on discovery+ and Eurosport.
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