Tsitsipas rides crowd support to 4th round | News Coverage from USA

Tsitsipas rides crowd support to 4th round

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Stefanos Tsitsipas has reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, going where no Greek man has gone before at the majors but is still feeling right at home.

The No. 14-seeded Tsitsipas had a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 win over No. 19 Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia on Margaret Court Arena on Friday.

He reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon last year and has become the first Greek man to advance that far at multiple Grand Slam tournaments. Big sections of Greeks sang songs and waved the blue and white flag and scarves in the crowd.

The 20-year-old Tsitsipas has as much support as the Aussie kids in Melbourne, a city with the highest concentration of Greek people outside of Greece.

“I’m delighted,” he said. “I feel so comfortable. I feel like playing at home.

“It’s exciting to have such an atmosphere. I never get to play with so many Greek people supporting me … and, and, and, Australians!”

He’ll next play either six-time Australian titlist Roger Federer or American Taylor Fritz, who were playing on Rod Laver Arena around the same time.

While rain prevented early play on outside courts at Melbourne Park, three matches went ahead on the show courts. At one stage, Greek fans had to split their time between the adjoining Rod Laver and Margaret Court Arenas.

There was no split loyalties on Rod Laver, where local favorite Ash Barty became the first player through to the fourth round a 7-5, 6-1 win over Maria Sakkari.

It was first time a Greek man and woman have advanced to the third round at the same Grand Slam tournament since 1936.

Barty continued the so-called “Barty Party” by ending Sakkari’s run, and will play either former champion Maria Sharapova or defending champion Caroline Wozniacki in the next round.

In the only other completed match by early afternoon, former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych beat No. 18-seeded Diego Schwartzman 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Berdych will meet either 2009 champion Rafael Nadal or local favorite Alex de Minaur in the next round.

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More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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