TennisSection previews the 2023 Australian Open as Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Jiri Lehecka in the quarterfinal on Tuesday, January 24, 2023.
After a gutsy five-set win over Jannik Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas will now play the surprise package of the 2023 Australian Open in Jiri Lehecka. Will the Greek star fall prey to the Next Gen star’s swashbuckling style?
Stefanos Tsitsipas romped to a two-set-to-love lead against Italian young gun Jannik Sinner. But unlike last year, when Tsitsipas defeated Sinner in straight sets, the 21-year-old came up with well-timed and well-controlled shots to break through Tsitsipas’s defenses. But Sinner could not keep that level for the rest of the match as the Greek eventually cleaned up his game for the fifth set to escape an upset.
For Jiri Lehecka, it has been a breakthrough fortnight at the Australian Open. The 21-year-old had zero main draw wins before this year at Grand Slam level, but he has conquered that hurdle, with some breathtaking performances. Lehecka has been an underdog in almost every round, which should be expected for an unseeded player. He has had the toughest path of any quarterfinalist in the draw, beating the likes of Borna Coric, Cameron Norrie, and sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Stefanos Tsitsipas leads Jiri Lehecka 1-0 in their head-to-head. That match was played in Rotterdam almost a year ago, with Tsitsipas coming out on top in three sets. Incidentally, it was Lehecka’s big breakthrough at the ATP Tour reaching his first semifinal at Tour level as a qualifier in that event. And 12 months on, the young Czech has broken new ground and it is the Greek No. 1 standing between him and a place in the semifinals of the Australian Open. Tsitsipas is playing at an incredible level. He kept asking Sinner plenty of questions behind the return. Time and again, we’ve been so critical of the Greek’s return game and how his one-handed backhand is such a liability that is easily exploited by power hitters. Remarkably, it was Sinner who was off the pace early on, and by the time he got back into the match he left himself with a mountain to climb. Lehecka will have his moments which is why it is crucial he starts off well and should be very clinical when he gets a look in at the Tsitsipas serve (something Sinner didn’t capitalize). The Czech is unchartered waters and a nervous start won’t help matters. Tsitsipas in the end might count on his experience at this level to push him over the line.
Free Tennis Prediction and Pick: Stefanos Tsitsipas in 5 sets
Free Value Bet: Over 3.5 sets in the match
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