Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas added another thrilling chapter to his Australian Open odyssey on Tuesday, the 20-year-old felling Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5 4-6 6-4 7-6(2) to claim a maiden Grand Slam semi-final for the Mediterranean nation.
Having already floored Roger Federer to send shockwaves through the tournament, the 14th seed can create further tennis history for his country when he plays for a spot in the final against Rafa Nadal or Frances Tiafoe.
Under a blazing sun at Rod Laver Arena, the aggressive baseliner fought back from 4-2 down in the third set and was unflappable in the final tiebreak, closing out the match with a pair of booming serves past his Spanish opponent.
With a victory that triggered a chorus of singing from Greek fans in the terraces, Tsitsipas became the youngest semi-finalist at Melbourne Park since American Andy Roddick, also 20, at the 2003 tournament.
“Feels like a fairytale almost,” he said in on-court interview. “I’m living a dream, living what I worked so hard for. I feel emotional but not much.
“I told people before that Grand Slam semis was my goal. When I was answering that question I thought I was crazy. But no, it’s real. It happened.”
Having saved all 12 break points in his fourth round victory over double defending champion Federer, the Greek’s composure was again key against Bautista Agut.
Tsitsipas was denied on a first match point at 6-5 in the fourth set but shrugged off the near-miss to dominate the tiebreak against the 22nd seed.
A backhand volley down the line put him two points from victory and he fired a serve into the corner to earn another four match points.
He only needed one of them to seal the match with another big serve, which he greeted by flopping onto the blue hardcourt, overwhelmed by the moment.