AO Live: Tsitsipas stuns Nadal from two sets down in Melbourne classic

AO Live: Tsitsipas stuns Nadal from two sets down in Melbourne classic

The Greek rallied to prevail, 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-5, in the Australian Open quarterfinals on Wednesday, handing the 20-time major champion just his second loss in 225 major matches with a two-set lead.

Late Wednesday night, Stefanos Tsitsipas became just the second player in 225 matches to defeat Rafael Nadal at a major after trailing by two sets. The No. 5 seed prevailed, 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-5, in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open after outlasting the 20-time Grand Slam champion in four hours and five minutes.

Read below to see just how the now three-time major semifinalist pulled out all the stops to set a final-four showdown with No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev.


Stefanos says...

We'll let his words do all the talking on how he turned it around:

"I wasn't really thinking about a lot of things. Nothing was going through my head. How would I describe myself? Nirvana. Just, like, there. Playing, not thinking. I was thinking a little bit, but I was mainly focused on each single serve, each single shot," he said.

"I think at the very third set, I changed few things. I changed my patterns. I maybe took a little bit more time. I think that helped. I wanted to stay in the court a bit longer. These things kept adding up. I think the change the pace, the rhythm, things like this. I may have put my brain a little bit, I brainstormed and I said, 'What is going wrong, why is it not working my way?' But then it just took off by itself."


Nadal on how it slipped away

In his press conference, Nadal commented on Tsitsipas lifting his game after the world No. 2 opened up the door at the end of the third set.

"I think he changed a lot the level then. I think in the third, he already start to play much better. Then in the fourth and fifth I think he played a very, very high level of tennis," said Nadal. 

"The whole issue is I missed an easy smash at the beginning of the third, an easy forehand with 2-1 in the tie-break, and then another smash in that tie-break. I made a couple of mistakes that I can't make to win the match."

Nadal also confirmed, "no problems with my back," when asked if it was an issue.


Tsitsipas to Courier "I'm speechless"

Speaking with Jim Courier after his five-set victory, Tsitsipas had understandably not processed what he achieved.

"I'm speechless. I have no words to describe what has just happened out on court. My tennis speaks for itself. It's an unbelievable feeling to be able to fight at such a level. And to leave my all out on the court. I started very nervous, I won't lie."


Fifth set rundown: Tsitsipas wraps up sensational comeback

11:52 p.m.—HE"S DONE IT! He was down 0-30, saw two match points come and go, and had to face a break point, but Tsitsipas finishes off an amazing battle to advance. In the final deuce, Nadal missed a routine drive volley into the net and Tsitsipas completed the gripping clash with backhand winner up the line.

11:43 p.m.—TSITSIPAS BREAKS! Four unforced errors from Nadal and the Greek will serve for the match.

11:40 p.m.—No letdown for Tsitsipas, who holds at 30 with a blazing forehand. It's 5-5 and feels like this should only end in a decisive tie-break.

11:35 p.m.—A love hold gets Rafa to within a game of the finish line. Tsitsipas has won 14 of 15 first-serve points in this set, so the No. 2 seed will be looking for any looks at a second serve.

11:33 p.m.—Tsitsipas responds brilliantly again. His winners to unforced errors differential is up to +11 (14 to 3). Nadal is at +8 (10 to 2).

11:29 p.m.—Another strong hold and Tsitsipas to serve at 3-4. Nadal reminds us all just how good his touch volley can be under pressure.

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11:25 p.m.—Are you kidding?! Tsitsipas back even again thanks to FOUR aces and 54 seconds at the line.

11:22 p.m.—3-2 Nadal, on serve. The level the two are bringing out in each other right now is what best-of-five was designed for. In the set so far: Nadal with 7 winners to 1 unforced errors, Tsitsipas at 6 winners to 2 unforced errors. Talk about zoning.

11:16 p.m.—Stef matches Rafa with a terrifically constructed game. Big hitting, big serving, big execution.

11:12 p.m.—Nadal delivers his strongest game since early in Set 3. Four points won via a winner, the last off a serve-and-volley. 2-1 Rafa.

11:09 p.m.—A good response from the Greek. He looks fresh and prepared to dig in deep.

11:05 p.m.—After a long set break, Nadal kicks off the fifth with a hold to 30. How will the interruption impact Tsitsipas' rhythm?


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How we reached a decider

First two sets: Nadal wins, 6-3, 6-2

Against Tsitsipas, the left-hander capitalized on the lone break point opportunity of the first set to jump out in front, then dialed up his level in set two by winning 16 of 20 points on serve and connecting for 10 winners to five unforced errors.

Last two sets: Tsitsipas wins, 7-6 (4), 6-4

Tsitsipas elevated his game in the third set, especially at the line, to keep pace with Nadal, who only lost one point on serve heading into a tie-break. And by sticking around, the 2019 ATP Finals champion was the benefactor of five unforced errors, including two on overheads, off Nadal's racquet. As a result, the Spaniard saw his streak of 35 consecutive sets won in majors ended.

Required to play on, Nadal shook off a trio of break points across his first two service games. But the 22-year-old kept plugging away, and in an intense ninth game, broke for the first time before leveling the clash.