In a thrilling first-round encounter at the Australian Open, seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas faced an unexpected challenge from lucky loser Zizou Bergs. Despite dropping the opening set 5-7, Tsitsipas displayed resilience and rallied back, dominating the next three sets with scores of 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.
Originally prepared to face Matteo Berrettini, Tsitsipas expressed the dangers of unexpected opponent changes but was delighted with the level he reached, pushing Bergs to the limit in the final three sets.
The Greek star, a two-time Grand Slam finalist, capitalized on his first opportunity in the second set, securing a 2-0 lead. Maintaining momentum into the third set, Tsitsipas broke three times, firmly establishing control over the match.
Despite a brief check in his serene progress, Tsitsipas secured victory in a shade under three hours, serving out for the match at the second attempt.
In another Australian Open development, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka faced defeat in the first round against French 20th seed Adrian Mannarino. Wawrinka, now 38 and ranked 56th, displayed a spirited performance but ultimately lost 6-4, 3-6, 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.
Despite the setback, Wawrinka expressed his determination to continue playing and hopes to return to the tournament next year at the age of 39.
Meanwhile, rising tennis star Ben Shelton reflected on a whirlwind year, noting his significant growth both on and off the court. Ranked 16th, Shelton acknowledged the learning experiences gained from traveling and competing internationally.
The 21-year-old, who reached the quarterfinals at last year's Australian Open, comfortably advanced to the second round this year by defeating Roberto Bautista Agut. Shelton expressed his comfort in various places worldwide, particularly enjoying the Australian Open as one of his favorite tournaments. Looking ahead, he faces Australian Chris O'Connell, anticipating a lively match with a supportive local crowd.