At the time of writing the first semi-final for the 2019 men’s Australian Open was already known and it brings together the old guard and new in the shape of megastar Rafa Nadal and the hot new thing from the NextGen 20 year-old Stefano Tsitsipas from Greece, who is contesting his first Grand Slam semi-final. Tsitsipas is backing up an impressive 2018 breakthrough season when he announced himself on the world stage when still only a teenager by winning his first ATP title at Stockholm and two other first time achievements were reaching his first ATP 500 final at Washington DC, USA and Masters 1000 Series final in Canada.
As a result, Tsitsipas broke into the top-20 for the first time ending the season ranked fourteenth in the world and fittingly he added the season ending NextGen ATP Finals to his already impressive resume. Just as impressive has been his form this fortnight especially in his last two matches, beating the great Roger Federer and then on Monday the in-form Bautista Agut both in four sets.
However, life gets even tougher for the young Greek star in the semi-finals against a resurgent and improved Nadal, who has crushed his five opponents all in straight sets this fortnight. If Nadal continues to play at his current level it’s going to be a tough night for Tsitsipas and the best I can see him achieving is winning a set at best. If results go as expected in this morning’s two men’s quarter finals between top-seed Djokovic and eighth seed Nishikori and sixteenth seed Raonic against twenty eighth seed Pouille, then the other semi-final line-up should be Djokovic against Raonic.