It was a case of better late than never for Christopher Eubanks as the gentle American giant was roared on to a 3-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 win over Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round of Wimbledon on Monday.
Eubanks, 27, is no spring chicken but after finally making it into the Wimbledon main draw for the first time this year, he has made it into the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time with a rousing win over the Greek maverick.
The 24-year-old Tsitsipas, who was in action for the seventh day running after having to put up with numerous rain disruptions during his matches, was bidding to become the first Greek man to reach the last eight at the All England Club.
He played his part in the highly entertaining encounter, often picking himself up off the ground to hit a winning shot.
But he met his match in the 6-foot-7 inch (2.01-metre) Eubanks, whose cheering squad included his occasional mixed doubles partner and compatriot Coco Gauff.
Tsitsipas broke back to level for 3-3 in the final set but could then only watch in awe as the world number 43 hit a stupendous backhand down the line in the next game to again nose ahead 4-3.
With the finishing line in sight at 5-4 up, Eubanks survived two break points before he belted down his 12th ace to bring up match point and a rip-roaring forehand winner finished off the job.
While Gauff whipped out her phone to record her friend’s greatest ever triumph, Eubanks was beaming from ear-to-ear as he gave the Court Two crowd a double thumbs up fist pump.
“I feel like I am living a dream right now, this is absolutely insane,” he said after setting up a quarterfinal showdown with Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev.
“It’s surreal, it’s unbelievable, I can’t believe it,” added the American after notching up his ninth straight win on grass.
A few weeks after claiming he hated playing on the surface, Eubanks made a u-turn on that assessment.
“The grass and I have had a very strenuous relationship over the years but right now it’s my best friend,” joked Eubanks, who won his first ATP title on grass in Mallorca in the run-up to Wimbledon.
For Tsitsipas, Monday’s defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow, especially after he had to overcome two Grand Slam champions in the shape of Dominic Thiem and Andy Murray just to reach the third round.
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