Tsitsipas Needs 4 Sets To Down Paire

World No. 4 reaches second week at majors for seventh time

Stefanos Tsitsipas rode a dominant day on serve and a steady stream of unforced errors from Benoit Paire to move into the fourth round of the Australian Open Saturday.

Despite dropping the third set in a tie-break, the Greek always looked in control of the match on Rod Laver Arena, firing 21 aces and benefitting from 50 unforced errors from the Frenchman to advance after two hours and 42 minutes.

“I’m pretty glad with the win,” Tsitsipas said. “Benoit is one of the biggest challenges in our game. He has a lot of talent and feel for the game, so it’s a very important victory for me today and it was special to play in this arena and share it with the crowd.”

Next up for the Greek World No. 4 is American Taylor Fritz, who claimed a rollercoaster 6-0, 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Spanish veteran Roberto Bautista Agut.

“I’ve shared the court with Taylor since we grew up and he’s improved a lot,” Tsitsipas said. “I will take the match very seriously and try to bring the best out in my game. Hopefully the crowd will support me and I can do my job.”

Tsitsipas, who also need four sets to defeat Argentine Sebastian Baez in the second round, will make his seventh appearance in the fourth round of a Grand Slam. At 23, he is looking to become the youngest Australian Open men's singles champion since Rafael Nadal in 2009. He is a two-time semi-finalist at Melbourne Park.

Looking ahead to the Fritz clash, Tsitsipas will look to improve his first-serve percentage, which dipped to 56 per cent today compared to 68 per cent in the second round against Baez and 64 per cent against Mikael Ymer in the first round.

He didn't pay the price for the slippage against Paire because of his 89 per cent conversion rate on first serve, winning 59 of 66 points, and by winning a healthy 65 per cent of second-serve points.

“It feels good to be playing and be part of the last 16. I'm happy with the match today,” Tsitsipas said. “I feel like there were certain moments where my opponent didn't work as hard as I had to do for the point. It was just one-shot execution from his side, serving really well, coming up with good shots like meaning one, two.

“I'm happy with the way I fought at the end. He certainly didn't have to work as hard as I did for the points, but that paid off at the end with me being consistent and patient when I had to be.”

Fritz is through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in 21 attempts.

"It's huge. After the match I was close to tearing up a bit," Fritz said. "It seems stupid because so many people have made the second week of Slams, but it has eluded me for so long. I've had a lot of tough draws and I've never had a great look at it."