German Alexander Zverev recovered from a dire start to upset three-time majors winner Stan Wawrinka 1-6 6-3 6-4 6-2, to advance to his maiden grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Touted years ago as tennis’s next big thing, Zverev had never previously made it past the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
His only two quarter-final runs at a major both came on clay at Roland Garros.
“You guys can’t imagine what this means to me. I hope this will be the first of many,” the 22-year-old said.
“It feels awesome. I don’t know what to say. I mean, I’ve done well in other tournaments. I’ve won matches, but I never could break that barrier in a grand slam.”
After battling through his Open opener against Marco Cecchinato, the out-of- sorts world No.7 pledged to donate his entire winner’s cheque to the bushfire victims if he won the Open.
And now he’s standing by it.
“I hope I can make it happen,” Zverev said.
“I made the people of Australia a promise, I will keep that promise if it happens,” Zverev added.
“I always said I’m not a money-driven person. My parents always taught me with money you should achieve things that help others and help the people that actually need the money and for me, right now.”
Zverev still has a way to go as he must overcome either world No.1 Rafael Nadal or fifth seed Dominic Thiem in Friday night’s semi-final, and then Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer in Sunday’s championship match.