Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Jiri Lehecka and remains on title course

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Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas downs Jiri Lehecka and remains on title course

World no. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas will compete in his sixth Major semi-final, the third at the Australian Open. Stefanos ousted the young Czech Jiri Lehecka 6-3, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes at Rod Laver Arena. Thus, the Greek remains undefeated in 2023 and stays in contention for the ATP throne.

Lehecka defeated four rivals to reach the last eight but could not challenge a better-ranked opponent despite a great effort. Stefanos claimed 19 points more than Jiri and defended all eight break chances to keep the pressure on the other side.

The Czech played against six break points (five in the opening game alone) and lost serve once in sets one and three to hit the exit door and finish his run in the last eight. Both players had more winners than errors in a high-quality clash.

Tsitsipas made the difference with his second serve and a better performance in the shortest range up to four strokes that pushed him over the top.

Stefanos Tsitsipas is yet to lose a set in Melbourne this year.

Stefanos held in the encounter's opening game after deuce and seized the fifth break chance in the next one for an early advantage.

With a boost on his side, Tsitsipas served well in the remaining games and landed a service winner in game nine for 6-3 in 36 minutes. Lehecka recovered after that early break he suffered and followed the rival's pace. The Czech dropped only nine points behind the initial shot in the second set and had a massive opportunity to break the Greek and improve his chances.

Tsitsipas played against five break points in the fourth game, staying calm and defending them to remain on the positive side. The rivals barely lost a point behind the initial shot until the end of the set, and Stefanos held at 15 at 5-6 to introduce a tie break.

The 3rd seed opened a 4-0 gap with a smash winner and painted a forehand winner for 6-1 and five set points. Tsitsipas fired a forehand crosscourt winner at 6-2 to wrap up the set and move closer to the finish line after an hour and 36 minutes.

There were no break chances in the third set's opening six games. Lehecka made one last push and moved 40-0 up in game seven. Stefanos defended three break points with quick points and held with a forehand winner for 4-3. The Czech served to stay in the match at 4-5 and felt the pressure for the first time since the encounter's first game.

Tsitsipas placed a backhand crosscourt winner to create a match point and seized it after the rival's backhand error to seal the deal and advance into the semi-final.