MELBOURNE — Stefanos Tsitsipas will try to reach his fourth Australian Open semi-final in five years when he takes on Jiri Lehecka in Tuesday’s last eight clash at 8am GMT.
Tsitsipas is, remarkably, unbeaten in quarter-final matches at grand slams while 21-year-old Lehecka is playing in his very first one.
The Czech will break into the top 50 for the first time thanks to his run, as will fellow unseeded quarter-finalist Ben Shelton, but Tsitsipas, world No 4 but yet to win his first grand slam, insists the arrival of yet more young talent in the elite tier does not add any further pressure.
“I play my game. Titles come if I play good,” Tsitsipas said after qualifying for the last eight.
“That takes care of itself, I think. If you’re able to play the best you can produce on the court, I feel like the rest just follows naturally. It’s a natural flow of things.
“Putting pressure on yourself… We’re all dealing with pressure when we’re playing. For us, we are out there on a different race every single time, a race with different conditions, a race with a different player by our side. That’s I think something that most players are focused at.
“I wouldn’t say too many players think of future events too much because tennis is a sport in which you have to stay present, otherwise if your mind wanders around, creates sort of scenarios, situations, that’s not really how you can play I think and peak in your performance.”
In fact, the only grand slam champions on show on Tuesday will be in the women’s draw. The first and arguably best match of the day will pit reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina against 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, slated for not before 1.30am in the UK.
How to watch the Australian Open, Day 8
- Date: Saturday 21 January
- Time: Day session from midnight GMT, night session from 8am GMT
- TV: Eurosport 1/2 (Sky 410/411, Virgin 521/522, BT 412/413)
- Live stream: Discovery+, ad-supported plan available for £6.99 a month
The match promises much in the way of big-hitting: Rybakina leads the ace count in the tournament while Ostapenko hit 30 fearless winners in her fourth-round shock victory over Coco Gauff. The Latvian won her first and to date only slam on clay but as a big ball-striker, believes she can threaten in the unique conditions of the Australian Open too.
She said: “I can do well on all surfaces. And it really depends on my game and my kind of mental strength and focus because today [against Gauff] I felt like I was really into the match and I was not looking around. I was just, like, on the court.
“Even I missed some balls, I was still continuing to play my game.”
She added: “I honestly haven’t really doubted [that I could win another slam]. My life changed a lot, so I needed a few years to really get used to what happened because I was really young.
“I always knew and believed in my game. If I play well, I can beat almost anyone.”
Order of play
(All times GMT)
Rod Laver Arena
- Not before 1.30am: Elena Rybakina (22) vs Jelena Ostapenko (17)
- Not before 3am: Karen Khachanov (18) vs Sebastian Korda (29)
- 8am: Jessica Pegula (3) vs Victoria Azarenka (24)
- Followed by: Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) vs Jiri Lehecka