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Tsitsipas After Beating Nadal: “Something Extra; Something I have Never Felt Before. It Was Epic.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece reacts after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain during their Men’s singles quarter finals match against on Day 10 of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, 17 February 2021. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT

By Ricky Dimon

Stefanos Tsitsipas produced an improbable comeback at the expense of Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday night.

After getting destroyed in the first two sets and coming within a tiebreaker loss of going out in straights, Tsitsipas stormed back for a 3-6, 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4, 7-5 victory after four hours and five minutes. It was made all the more hard to believe by the fact that Nadal had been 223-1 lifetime at Grand Slams after winning the first two sets (lost to Fabio Fognini from two sets up at the 2015 U.S. Open).

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in action during his Men’s singles quarter finals match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on Day 10 of the Australian Open. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

“Moments like this haven’t happened a lot in my career, and the fact that I was able to come back the way I did and the way I fought against such a top, respected player like Rafa was something extra–something I have never felt before. It was a first-timer.

“And to be able to just walk up to my team and hug them and share that little moment of appreciation and solidarity, it was epic. It was everything I ever dreamed of, and I’m glad that I am where I am today.”

For Nadal, the double-career Grand Slam remains elusive. He has won every other major at least twice but has not lifted the trophy Down Under since 2009. Since his triumph 12 years ago, the Spaniard has reached at least the quarterfinals 10 times–including the final on four occasions.

It has simply been close but no cigar.

“Sometimes things go well; other times the things go worse,” Nadal said when asked about his struggles in Australia. “Unfortunately for me in this tournament I had more injuries than in the others. Then matches that you lose like today against one of the best players of the world is something that happens.

“(I’m) not at all feeling unlucky for me; not at all (am) I complaining about my luck here in Australia. Everyone has what (they) deserve…. I have what I deserved in my career, and over here in Australia I had chances but I was not able to convert it. That’s all. I didn’t deserve more.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.