Stefanos Tsitsipas is off to his second major final after defeating Karen Khachanov 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 in the semifinals of the Australian Open on Friday in Melbourne, Australia.
Tsitsipas, a 24-year-old from Greece who is the tournament’s third seed, collides with Novak Djokovic in the men’s singles final on Sunday.
Djokovic, 35, is one win shy of his 10th Australian title and 22nd Grand Slam crown. Despite 24 unforced errors, the fourth-seeded Serbian ended American Tommy Paul’s stay in Australia with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 victory in the semifinals.
The winner of the final will be ranked No. 1 in men’s singles.
“I like that number,” Tsitsipas said. “”These are the moments that I’ve been working hard for.”
Djokovic owns a 10-2 career record against Tsitsipas and appears to be far past the left hamstring strain that bothered him in the first two rounds.
He has a 27-match winning streak in the Australian Open. A 22nd Slam title would equal Rafael Nadal’s record.
“Winning Grand Slams and being the No. 1 in the world is probably the two biggest peaks that you can climb,” Djokovic said.
Paul was ranked 35th but had never been past the fourth round in Melbourne.
Khachanov, a 26-year-old Russian who was seeded 18th, matched his best major result by getting to the semifinals. He also reached that stage at the U.S. Open last year.
Tsitsipas and Khachanov each lost serve twice in the opening set, which Tsitsipas won after taking five consecutive points in the tiebreaker.
The second set featured just one break, with Tsitsipas converting to go up 5-4 before holding serve in the next game.
An early break for 2-1 put Tsitsipas up in the third set, but Khachanov broke back when Tsitsipas was serving for the match at 5-4. Tsitsipas then had two match points in the tiebreaker before Khachanov won four points in a row to extend the match.
Tsitsipas quickly recovered to win the first three games of the fourth set and cruise to victory from there.
Before Friday, the only player to push Tsitsipas beyond three sets in the tournament was 15th-seeded Jannik Sinner. The Italian lost a five-setter in the fourth round.
–Field Level Media