By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Greek tennis sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first man to clinch a seat in the 2023 Australian Open grand finals last January 27, 2023.
Tsitsipas pulled off a masterful performance against tennis veteran Karen Khachanov- 7.6, 6.4, 6.7, 6.3- held at the noisy and energetic Rod Laver Arena.
Despite a shaky start when Tsitsipas got hounded by unfortunate unforced errors midway through the first set, the world no. 3 tennis player still found a way to break through and used his perseverance to outwork Khachanov inside the playing court.
Tsitsipas’ nose for the ball was on full display as the young star was quick with his reflexes whenever Khachanov threw well-placed drop balls.
Garbage was turned into gold during those possessions as the rushing Tsitsipas was able to get the ball and counter with a forehand flick near the net to close out the first set in style.
Tsitsipas continued to pour in the attack in the second set and was looking pretty sharp to take over the match and grab another sweeping win but Khachanov came alive in the most perfect time in the third period and finally scored some much-needed service breaks to get back into the slugfest.
Khachanov avoided a 3-0 sweep and held his ground in the third set after stealing away the momentum from Tsitsipas.
However, in the fourth and final set, it was all Tsitsipas who just stomped over the exhausted Khachanov.
An early service break already derailed Khachanov’s chances of getting back into the match including Tsitsipas’ perfect service possession game.
Tsitsipas’ booming record of 18 aces became one of the headlines of his victory backstopped by 94 service points won and 25 total games won.