MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, bowed out in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Sunday to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, a former top-ranked junior player whom he had never faced before in a tour-level event.
The No. 14 seeded Tsitsipas, 20, the youngest player remaining in the men’s draw, dispatched the third-seeded Federer, 6-7 (11), 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (5), at Rod Laver Arena in a match that unfurled like a four-hour passing of the torch.
Tsitsipas clinched the upset on a netted backhand by Federer, 37, who was bidding to become the oldest man to reach the quarterfinals here since 43-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1977.
Federer, the two-time defending champion, earned 12 break chances but converted none.
“I am the happiest man on Earth right now,” Tsitsipas, the son of two tennis players, said in an on-court interview.
He had grown up idolizing Federer and said, “It was a dream come true just being on Rod Laver facing him. Beating him, I cannot describe it.”
Tsitsipas broke onto the scene last year by reaching the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto in August, defeating four top-10 players, including Novak Djokovic, on the way. In November, he won the ATP’s Next Gen finals for the top players 21 and under.
Tsitsipas is in the quarterfinals of a major for the first time. He will face 22nd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, 22, who is also in his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.