The spirit of four-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi was alive and well on Wednesday as Fernando Verdasco downed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to make his first Grand Slam semifinal.
The 25-year-old Spaniard grew up idolising Agassi, and while he said he hadn't been able to emulate the brash American's style, he had sought his advice during a recent training camp in Las Vegas.
"(I talked to him) about a lot of things," the 14th seed said after his 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena as temperatures soared outside.
"He was just giving me advice about what he thinks about all this, about what tournaments I need to play or which weeks I need to practice and be ready for the big tournaments.
"Also about tactics, and about my game, how he thinks that I should play more and take more advantage of my game."
Verdasco has been in a rich vein of form since he arrived in Australia, making the final in Brisbane and now reaching his first ever Grand Slam semi.
He downed fourth seed Andy Murray in the previous round and on Wednesday absorbed the shot making and athleticism of French fifth seed Tsonga to record a memorable victory.
He also proved far steadier at the crucial moments, winning four out of four break points as opposed to two of 13 from his opponent, which a shell-shocked Tsonga said had been the difference.
"Today everything was wrong and all the time when I got the possibility to make a break, I missed or Fernando played a good point," Tsonga said.
Verdasco had his best year on the ATP tour in 2008, finishing in the world top 20 for the first time and winning his second career title.
He also won the crucial rubber that gave Spain the Davis Cup when he came from two sets down to beat Jose Acasuso in Argentina.
Verdasco is now training with Agassi's former mentor Gil Reyes in Las Vegas as part of a program for adidas-sponsored players.
"Some players, maybe they don't want to do it," Verdasco said.
"But me, because I don't have a coach I decided to go there.
"Also because Agassi was my idol when I was young, I decided that it was a good experience, that I will learn so much. So I took that decision.
"They've helped me so much, they treat me unbelievable there."
Verdasco also showed the benefits of recent conditioning training, becoming stronger as the match progressed while Tsonga appeared to fade.
It became increasingly noticeable towards the end of the third set when Verdasco had been running Tsonga all over the court.
"You know, I was feeling much better in the third and the fourth than the first and second," he said.
The confident Spaniard said there was no reason he couldn't go on and win the title.
"What I'm thinking right now is that I'm playing good, I'm feeling good," he said. "I just think that I can beat anyone.
"But, you know, the same way that I can win, I can lose. I'm playing with the best players in the world. Of course, they are always tough matches.
"But I believe in myself that I can win those matches.
"I don't put a limit in this tournament. I'm in the semi-finals right now and I think that I can lose in the semifinals but also be in the final or win the tournament.
"So I will try to, for sure, win the tournament."