Greek phenom Stefanos Tsitsipas matched his career-best showing in a Grand Slam tournament on Friday, beating No. 14 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.
The No. 14 seed has his work cut out for him if he hopes to reach the quarterfinals, however, as he’ll be facing Swiss great and No. 3 seed Roger Federer, a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 winner over American Taylor Fritz.
Tsitsipas, 20, is already bracing for his showdown with the elder statesman Federer, 37.
“He’s a legend of our sport,” Tsitsipas said. “It will be a great day facing him in one of the best arenas, Rod Laver [Arena]. I’m really excited for that match. … If I thought about it now, it’s insane I’m in this position where I can actually play him. It’s really emotional.”
The two never have faced each other in a tour-level event.
Another active legend, second-seeded Rafael Nadal, enjoyed his 250th Grand Slam match win on Friday with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Australian teen Alex de Minaur, who was seeded 27th.
Nadal is now 250-36 in Grand Slam matches and next faces Czech Tomas Berdych, who rallied to beat No. 18 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Nadal holds a 19-4 career record against Berdych.
In other action, No. 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain upset tenth-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, No. 6 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia rallied to beat Spanish No. 26 seed Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (8), 6-3, American Frances Tiafoe outlasted Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-7 (3), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 and No. 20 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria beat Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4.