GIANT-killing teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas outlasted Kevin Anderson in the Canadian Open semi-finals to secure a place in his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final.
Tsitsipas, who will turn 20 on Monday (AEST) fought back from a set down to beat his South African opponent 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (9-7).
In his second win against Anderson, Tsitsipas won all 17 of his service games and he has not yet been broken by the South African in the six sets they have played.
He said he stayed positive in the tiebreaker, knowing one or two points can make the difference, and reflected on how significant an achievement it is to make the final of a Masters event at such a young age.
“I was mixing it up. He seemed a bit confused and he cracked at the end,” Tsitsipas said. “I didn’t aim that high and I think with low expectations I managed to pull out my best tennis.
“Playing in a Masters 1000 final is the best thing that can happen on your birthday. I cannot believe it.”
The Greek made history by becoming the youngest player to beat four top-10 players in an event since the ATP World Tour was established in 1990. He beat World No. 6 Anderson after topping eighth-ranked Dominic Thiem in the second round, World No. 10 Novak Djokovic in the round of 16 and German No. 3 Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals.
Before this week Tsitsipas had just three wins against players in the top 10, and his stunning performances of late have left the tennis world in awe.
Tsitsipas worked for two hours and 48 minutes to secure his upset over Anderson, which was secured on his third match point.
The outcome was decided in a tight third set tiebreaker, with Tsitsipas blowing his first two winning chances with a double-fault and a forehand error.
Anderson missed out on a on a match point of his own serve as Tsitsipas slammed over a backhand cross-court winner.
The winner saved all four break points he faced while breaking Anderson once in the tense struggle.
The Athens native is the first unseeded finalist at the Canadian Open since Nicolas Kiefer in 2008.
Tsitsipas will play World No. 1 Rafael Nadal — who beat him in the Barcelona Open decider in April — or unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov in Monday’s final.
Ranked No. 168 this week a year ago, Tsitsipas will climb to at least No. 15 on Monday. If he wins the tournament he will soar to No. 12.
Speaking after his win over Zverev in the quarters, Tsitsipas said he could barely believe the trajectory he was on.
“I’m confused now, is this real?” Tsitsipas said. “This shows that with dedication and work, dreams do come true,” Tsitsipas said. “I can see that it’s real — it’s happening.”
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