Stefanos proves he is no flash in the pan! Day 9 – Australian Open 2019.

We knew the title was true anyway, but I thought that performance was another big statement of intent from Stefanos Tsitsipas against Roberto Bautista Agut. He dug deep here having trailed in both sets one and three, he found himself 4-2 down in both before coming through to win them. The forehand is some weapon. The backhand ain’t too shabby either. His attitude and application are possibly his biggest asset though. It would have been so easy to have put in a slightly ‘off’ performance against the Spaniard, especially against an opponent who grafts and works for everything. Tsitsipas did not allow that to happen. Yes, Bautista was clearly struggling at the end of the third and for the fourth but Tsitsipas upped his game. For Bautista Agut it was one game too far but what an effort from him. Once again today this was high quality.

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We will now get to see where Stefanos is at against one of the legends of the game. Nadal beat Frances Tiafoe 6/3 6/4 6/2, with the American admitting after that dropping his serve at the start of each set was not ideal. He can’t be too hard on himself though, it has been a  big step forward in Melbourne and if truth be told I don’t think he was quite ready to win this match right now. In the future, yes, but he wasn’t quite there today. Nadal was his usual dazzling self and that made this a huge ask. Tsitsipas is slightly further down the road than Tiafoe at the moment. We will find out by how much in their semi-final.

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Danielle Collins really stuck to her guns against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. I didn’t realise the American was as vocal on court as she is. There was a lot of shouting and screaming today. Things did not go her way in the first set but the 6-2 scoreline looked a little harsh on her. From there on, she took control of the match though and very much like with Bautista, Pavy started to tire at the end of the second set and the decider. There have been some long matches for the Russian, tough wins over Bertens and Stephens catching up with her. Having said that, Collins played a really, really good set of tennis with the forehand firing nicely.

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Petra Kvitova continued her virtually flawless form on her way to the last four. The 6/1 6/4 win over Ash Barty would make it easy to surmise that the Aussie didn’t really turn up, but that was certainly not the case. One break of serve was enough to do it in the second set. When Kvitova is serving like this and hitting off the ground like this, there are very, very few players who would have any say in the outcome of the match against her. She is the only player in the women’s to not drop a set and she has not had the easiest of draws. Rybarikova, Begu, Bencic, Anisimova and Barty is enough to keep you on your toes.

Here is another stat from tennisform.com to finish on – Kvitova has held serve in 39/42 service games this week; S. Williams 31/36; Ka. Pliskova 35/42; Svitolina 36/44; N. Osaka 38/47 & Collins 43/56.

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Andy Del Potro

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