As the Swiss contemplated the loss of his Australian Open title from a year ago he admitted that he can not spurn 12 out of 12 break points and hope to beat someone so inspired and talented. "I'm the happiest man on earth right now". "I idolized him since I was six and it was a dream for me to be on Rod Laver with him".
Five-time Grand Slam victor Maria Sharapova and fifth seed Sloane Stephens were others to fall, but there was no such drama for a rampant Rafael Nadal who powered into the last eight with a straight sets win over Tomas Berdych.
"I mean before that, too, obviously".
"I actually from the very beginning to keep that mindset on the court, to believe in yourself and your capabilities on the court".
The aggressive Tsitsipas took a 2-0 lead in the tie-break but Federer saved three set points, then won what was his fourth.
Tsitsipas, just 20 years old (!), won the games that mattered, though, and dispatched the 37-year-old Federer in a match that felt a lot like a passing of the torch.
The 14th-seeded Tsitsipas will face Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals and could meet Rafael Nadal in the final four.
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'I guess so. He has a one-handed backhand and I used to have long hair, so maybe a little bit, ' reflected Federer ruefully, when asked for similarities between his young self and his conqueror, also pointing to the Greek's old-school continental grip.
The key stat Sunday night: Federer failed to convert any of the 12 break points he earned.
"I don't care how I do it, but I have to do it. Cost me the game tonight".
Tsitsipas showed great composure to recover from a shaky start, having been given a time violation in the first game after failing to beat the serve clock. The second such warning resulted in the loss of a serve, and Tsitsipas proceeded to double-fault, offering up a break point to Federer. He hung in there, gave himself chances at some point, stayed calm.
Tsitsipas never even collected a break point of his own until the third set, and the match was almost 3 hours old when he finally cashed one in, the only one he would need, when Federer pushed a forehand into the net. "It's not always easy, especially for younger guys".
"I also didn't break him at the Hopman Cup, so clearly something is wrong how I return him, what I'm trying to do", a dejected Federer said.