Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece beat 18th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-3 in the first Australian Open semifinal in Melbourne on Friday. It is the second time that the 24-year-old Greek has qualified for the final of a Grand Slam, his first being in the 2021 French Open, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
It was a pretty straightforward win for Tsitsipas, who has dropped only three sets in the tournament so far. At one stage, Tsitsipas looked like he was cruising to a victory in straight sets, but Khachanov showed some grit and resolve to stretch him a bit.
We will now take a look at how the match progressed:
How Stefanos Tsitsipas Beat Karen Khachanov at the Australian Open
Tsitsipas dominated with his forehand in the first two sets:
Tsitsipas is known to have one of the most potent forehands on Tour, and he dominated with it in the first two sets by hitting a number of winners off it. Moreover, the Greek also attacked with his forehand at times to push Khachanov behind and then finish points with overhead smashes after the latter had somehow played a defensive lob.
Tsitsipas broke Khachanov twice in the first set, but the Russian broke back twice to take it into a tie-break. Tsitsipas made short work of the Russian in the tie-break and won it comfortably.
The Greek then broke Khachanov again in the eighth game of the second set and then served out the set. He seemed to be cruising at that stage and it was always going to be difficult for the Russian to come back into the match.
Khachanov showed grit to win the third set, but Tsitsipas then finished the match off:
Tsitsipas again got the vital break of serve in the final set and served for the match at 5-4. However, Khachanov then broke back and took the set to a tie-break again. Tsitsipas had a match point at 6-5 in the tie-break, but the Russian bounced back to win three straight points to pull one back.
However, it Tsitsipas did not allow any more reprieve and won the fourth set comfortably by breaking the Russian once and never dropping his serve.
Khachanov’s return of serve was quite ordinary in the match, and he hit quite a few of his shots long while returning the Greek’s serve. The Russian, however, showed good skills at net and hit quite a few volley winners. Still, Tsitsipas’ superior groundstrokes meant that the Greek finished the match with 66 winners against Khachanov’s 46.
Tsitsipas also won 84% of the points on his first serve, while the Russian could only manage 66%. The Greek fired 18 aces and Khachanov could not compete with him in terms of the potency of the first serve either.
Main Photo from Getty.