PARIS (Reuters) - Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas could not hide the raw emotion of defeat after losing a five-set thriller against Stan Wawrinka in the French Open fourth round on Sunday.
Tsitsipas, 20, had looked the man most likely to threaten the establishment this week with dazzling tennis, but Wawrinka proved they will not make way easily as he gritted out a 7-6(6) 5-7 6-4 3-6 8-6 to set up a clash with Roger Federer.
After a five-hour battle between two of the best one-handed backhands in the business it seemed Tsitsipas, 14 years younger than Wawrinka, was on the brink of victory when he had three break points at 5-5 in the deciding set.
But the Greek could not convert any of them and wavered at 6-7, allowing Wawrinka two match points, the second of which he took with a backhand slice that Tsitsipas thought was going wide but which clipped a line, the umpire confirming his fate.
Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, warmly embraced his opponent but the hurt was plain for all to see as Tsitsipas headed off.
“I feel exhausted. I don’t know. Never experienced something like this in my life,” Tsitsipas told reporters.
“I feel very disappointed at the end. Long time since I cried after a match, so emotionally wasn’t easy to handle. I will try to learn from it as much as I can.
“It’s the worst feeling ever. Especially when you lose.
You don’t want to be in my place.”
Tsitsipas converted only five of 27 break points — a statistic that ultimately cost him his chance.
“I was so close, so close. So many break points. So many.
Didn’t play. I was expecting someone else to play it for me. I didn’t play,” he said.
Asked what he would learn, he said: “I have no idea. My mind is so empty right now. I cannot even think.”
Tsitsipas had arrived in Paris as one of the form players on clay after reaching the final in Madrid and semis in Rome.
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond