(Reuters) – A look at the records of Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas and Spain’s Rafa Nadal before their semi-final match at the Australian Open on Thursday (prefix number denotes seeding):
ATP Ranking: 15
Grand Slam titles: 0
2018 Australian Open performance: First round
Best Australian Open performance: Semi-finals (2019)
From a first round exit in 2018 to a first ever semi-final appearance for a Greek player this year, Tsitsipas is living the dream in Melbourne, especially after he dispatched his idol and third seed Roger Federer in the fourth round.
His composure belies his age and he possesses a killer instinct to put opponents on the back foot and wrap up games under pressure. He was beaten twice in straight sets by Nadal last year.
ATP Ranking: 2
Grand Slam titles: 17 (Australian Open 2009; French Open 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018; Wimbledon 2008, 2010; U.S. Open 2010, 2013, 2017)
2018 Australian Open performance: Quarter-finals
Best Australian Open performance: Winner (2009)
Unlike his Greek opponent, Nadal has breezed through the first five rounds without dropping a set, averaging around two hours on court for each match and conserving his energy for the latter rounds.
Nadal’s sublime form after a comeback from surgery and improved serve speed will be crucial against Tsitsipas.
HEAD-TO-HEAD (Tsitsipas 0 – Nadal 2)
2018 Nadal d Tsitsipas 6-2 7-6(4) (Toronto, hard)
2018 Nadal d Tsitsipas 6-2 6-1 (Barcelona, clay)
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge