Preview: Tsitsipas meets Lehecka, Khachanov and Korda clash in Australian Open QFs | TBEN | Tennis

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The men’s singles field at the 2023 Australian Open has dropped to eight and Tuesday’s action sees half of the remaining participants bid for a spot in the semi-finals.

Stefanos Tsitsipas tries to stop Jiri Lehecka’s dream run in the night session at the Rod Laver Arena as the third-seeded Greek chases his third consecutive Australian Open semifinal. Earlier on Tuesday, Karen Khachanov and Sebastian Korda got into action, with both players appearing in their first Australian Open quarterfinals.

ATPTour.com previews the quarter-finals on Day 9 at Melbourne Park.

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[3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs Jiri Lehecka (CZE)

Tsitsipas passed the toughest test of his run in Melbourne on Sunday, holding off a furious attack from Jannik Sinner in a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4 victory. The Greek credited his late rise to his ability to relax and reset, with a loose arm helping him find the groove on his serve as he made 24 of 26 first serves in the final set.

With even more effort in the quarter-finals, Tsitsipas feels no extra pressure as he looks for his first Grand Slam title.

“I play my game. Titles come when I play well. That comes naturally,” he said at a post-match press conference. the rest follows naturally, it’s a natural flow of things.”

After falling in the first round of the 2022 US Open – where he admitted that the weight of playing for the top spot in the Pepperstone ATP rankings affected him – Tsitsipas was able to become world No. 1 again by taking the trophy in to receive Melbourne.

In the way is 21-year-old Lehecka, who has risen 32 places after his run in Melbourne to number 39 on the Pepperstone ATP rankings. Prior to these two weeks, he was 0-4 at the majors, losing in the first round of each in 2022. Now he will try to get his first win against Tsitsipas, after losing 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 of the Greek last February in the semifinals of Rotterdam.

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“I’ll be super excited,” Lehecka said of the matchup, before it was confirmed by Tsitsipas’ victory. “I will definitely go for that revenge. I know he will remember how we played in Rotterdam last year. One set I was the better player on the field. Then he overtook the match.

“But I think he will remember, and he will know my strengths. He will feel that I can put him under pressure. At the same time, I know he’s a great player… I know how to play against him. Of course, last year’s game from the Rotterdam semi-final will help me a lot, how I can imagine things, how it went there, how to prepare for this next game.

Lehecka has made tremendous progress since then, and he’s a different player since his run-up to the title match at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November.

“I think in the Next Gen Finals I finally found my game and learned how to play what I want to play and how to beat great guys in big stadiums,” he said. “I saw all the media attention there. It was sort of [gateway] to the big tennis.”

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It doesn’t get much bigger than facing the world number 4 at the Rod Laver Arena.

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[18] Karen Khachanov vs. [29] Sebastian Korda (USA)

Judging by Khachanov and Korda’s previous Grand Slam meeting, the Rod Laver Arena crowd is in for a wild ride on Tuesday afternoon. In the fourth round at Wimbledon 2021, Khachanov defeated the American 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 10-8 to reach his second major quarterfinal.

Korda has since beaten Khachanov twice to take a 2-1 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series, but both players head into Tuesday’s clash with high eyes after having won their own respective Grand Slam for the past two weeks. milestones have been reached.

After rushing past Yoshihito Nishioka for losing just six games in Melbourne, Khachanov has now reached the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slams. The 26-year-old has no desire to give up as he tries to pass Korda and match his best performance at a major, his semifinal at last September’s US Open.

“Clearly [reaching the quarter-finals at all four Slams] kind of compliments me on what I’ve accomplished so far,” Khachanov said after defeating Nishioka 6-0, 6-0, 7-6 (4) on Sunday. “I’m just happy to do it. Hopefully I can move on to even bigger things.”

Tuesday’s duel, on the other hand, will be Korda’s first Grand Slam quarterfinal, though the 22-year-old has already shown remarkable progress in a 2023 season that is just over three weeks old. He held onto championship point before losing to a narrow defeat to Novak Djokovic in the Adelaide International 1 final in early January, and believes past disappointments in close matches against top players helped him this year in Melbourne, where he took a three-year statement victory. sets against Daniil Medvedev in the third round.

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“I think I had a difficult match with Rafa [at Indian Wells last year], served for it a few times,” Korda said, speaking after defeating Hubert Hurkacz in a five-set thriller in the fourth round on Sunday. “Match point with Djokovic [in Adelaide]… I think of all those little moments I’ve been through, learning a little bit from them, staying patient, staying positive, going through the process. I think [they] really helped me forward.”

In doubles…

The men’s doubles draw also reaches the quarterfinals on Tuesday, as third seed Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer attempt to reach the Australian Open semifinals for the first time. They take on the unseeded French duo of Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin at the Kia Arena, with both teams yet to drop a set after their first three games in Melbourne.

In the other eighth clash of Day 9, Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski hope to support their third round match against Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury as second seed when they take on another all-French duo, Benjamin Bonzi and Arthur Rinderknech.

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