Stefanos Tsitsipas said he was living the dream after reaching the Australian Open final Friday for a first time and standing on the cusp of becoming world number one.
The Greek third seed showed grit to defeat Russia’s Karen Khachanov and set up a final against either nine-time Melbourne champion Novak Djokovic or American Tommy Paul.
The 18th-seeded Khachanov threatened a comeback after saving two match points to force the semi-final into a fourth set, before Tsitsipas triumphed 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3.
Tsitsipas can top the world rankings if he wins his first Grand Slam crown on Sunday.
“I dreamed as a kid to maybe one day get to play in this court against the best players in the world,” Tsitsipas told a sunny Rod Laver Arena after winning an Australian Open semi-final at the fourth attempt.
“So I’m happy with the fight I put out there today. I feel blessed, blessed that I’m able to play tennis at this level.
“I’ve been wanting for many years now to put Greek tennis on the map.”
At 24, Tsitsipas is the youngest man to reach the Australian Open final since a 23-year-old Djokovic in 2011.
Tsitsipas has thrived in Melbourne throughout his career, after bursting on the scene at the 2019 event as a 20-year-old when he dethroned defending champion Roger Federer in the last 16.
He went on to reach the semi-finals that year and again in 2021 and 2022, falling one match short on each occasion.
A Grand Slam crown has remained elusive, with his runner-up showing at Roland Garros in 2021 his best result so far, falling to Djokovic in five sets after holding a 2-0 lead.