Karen Khachanov vs Stefanos Tsitsipas predictions: Determined Greek can show his class
- This will be Stefanos Tsitsipas' fourth semi-final at the Australian Open
- Stefanos Tsitsipas has dropped only two sets at this year's tournament
- Karen Khachanov has lost all five previous meetings with Tsitsipas
- Recommended bet: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win 3-0
Stefanos Tsitsipas has never won a Grand Slam but looks in a great position to do so at this year's Australian Open as he prepares to lock horns with Karen Khachanov on Friday.
While Tsitsipas managed to overcome tricky Jiri Lehecka in straight sets in the quarter-finals, Khachanov was on course to dump out rising star Sebastian Korda before the American retired in the third set with a wrist injury.
Khachanov looking back to his best
Khachanov first made an impact on the ATP tour back in 2019 when he reached the quarter-finals of the French Open but it is fair to say it has taken time for him to build on that.
He is now back playing some of his best tennis, though, following a semi-final appearance at last year's US Open with a run to the last four in Melbourne this month.
In doing so, he has become only the 10th active male player to have reached at least the quarter-finals at all four majors.
While his run to this stage of the competition deserves immense respect, Khachanov had been given a softer draw than most, overcoming Bernabe Zapata Miralles, Jason Kubler, Frances Tiafoe and Yoshihito Nishioka on his way to the quarter-finals.
His last-eight encounter with Korda promised to be tough — the American had beaten Hubert Hurkacz and Daniil Medvedev in earlier rounds — but Khachanov held his nerve to take the first two sets.
He was of course helped out by a wrist injury sustained by Korda forcing him to retire — and Korda is the kind of player who had it in him to put on a comeback — but Khachanov had nonetheless showed his class in the win.
Tsitsipas hunger clear to see
Khachanov has been impressive but Tsitsipas looks like a man on a mission in Melbourne.
The Greek loves these courts and has plenty of experience going deep in the Australian Open, reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne for the fourth time in five years.
Last year, his journey came to an end at the hands of Medvedev but Tsitsipas will be feeling more confident this time around.
His quarter-final opponent was Czech starlet Lehecka, who had already dumped out Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime, but Tsitsipas showed no sign of nerves and made light work of his assignment, romping to a 6-3 7-6 6-4 victory.
The 24-year-old knows that if he wins his first Grand Slam in Melbourne, he will also become the new world No1 — and it will take something special to stop him.
Tsitsipas has won all five of his previous meetings with Khachanov, with four of those triumphs coming on hard courts.
The Greek's sole final appearance at a Grand Slam came at the 2021 French Open but this is clearly the major he loves the most, given his many runs to the semi-finals coupled with the fact he spoke about potentially moving to Melbourne one day when interviewed earlier in the tournament.
Four of his five wins at this year's Australian Open have been in straight sets, the exception being a five-set humdinger with Italian Jannik Sinner in which Tsitsipas showed tremendous mental resilience to win a deciding fifth set, having being pegged back from 2-0 up.
Tsitsipas looks better-equipped than Khachanov, who has only passed the fourth round four times in 29 previous Grand Slam tournaments and has yet to beat the Greek, losing three of those five previous meetings in straight sets.