Tsitsipas Makes Greek History At The Australian Open
Tsitsipas was eliminated from last year's Australian Open in the first round, falling in straight sets to fellow #NextGenATP player Denis Shapovalov. But the Greek was No. 82 in the ATP Rankings at the time, and he has been on the rise ever since.
"We both served very well," said Tsitsipas. "[I thought] the match was going to be decided [by a] few points on our serves, maybe tie-breaks, which happened. We played two tie-break sets [and the] points were very close. Everything was very close.
"I'm happy I stayed calm, stayed aggressive. I didn't think too much of what the score was. I focused more on being aggressive, making him feel the pressure."
Tsitsipas enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2018, reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, advancing to the final of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Toronto, winning his first ATP Tour title in Stockholm and triumphing at the Next Gen ATP Finals. He is the 14th seed at Melbourne Park — his highest seeding at a Slam — and at a career-best No. 15 in the ATP Rankings.
The 20-year-old lost in the Sydney quarter-finals in his first tour-level event of 2019. But true to his form at the end of 2018, he bounced right back on Court 3, hitting 15 aces and saving the two break points he faced to advance after two hours and 57 minutes. He will next face Serbian qualifier Viktor Troicki for a place in the third round. Troicki recovered from two sets to one down to beat Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain 6-1, 1-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.
The first seeded opponent Tsitsipas can face is Georgian Nikoloz Basilasvhili, who dismissed American qualifier Christopher Eubanks 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3. The No. 19 seed claimed his first two ATP Tour titles last year, both victories coming at ATP 500 events (Hamburg, Beijing).
Gael Monfils also advanced, cruising past Damir Dzumhur 6-0, 6-4, 6-0 in 85 minutes. The 30th seed hit 32 winners to book a second-round clash against Taylor Fritz. The 21-year-old American beat ASB Classic runner-up Cameron Norrie 6-3, 7-6(6), 6-2.
Did You Know?
Tsitsipas was named the 2018 Most Improved Player of the Year as part of the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards.