MELBOURNE: Novak Djokovic was two wins away from a 22nd Grand Slam crown after bulldozing into the Australian Open semi-finals on Wednesday, whereas Aryna Sabalenka was equally spectacular in reaching the ladies’s final 4.
Serbia’s Djokovic delivered a masterclass to crush Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-Four on Rod Laver Arena and arrange a gathering with Tommy Paul for a spot in Sunday’s last.
Djokovic’s quest to go stage with nice rival Rafael Nadal on a number one 22 main titles carries an air of inevitability.
The 35-year-old struggled with a hamstring damage within the early rounds at Melbourne Park however was dominant throughout his fourth-round demolition of Alex de Minaur and was equally medical towards the outclassed Rublev.
“Last two matches, playing against two guys who were in form and to beat them dominantly in three sets is something that I definitely want in this moment, something that sends a message to all my opponents,” mentioned a buoyant Djokovic.
“With this kind of game the confidence level rises, so I feel better on the court as the tournament progresses.”
Victory for the red-hot favorite propelled him right into a 44th Grand Slam semi-final to shut the hole on Roger Federer’s all-time file of 46.
Anything apart from a rampant win for Djokovic towards unseeded Paul would quantity to an enormous upset, albeit at a match that has seen quite a few shocks within the males’s and ladies’s attracts.
Paul defeated his fellow American Ben Shelton 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-Four to reach his first main semi-final.
But former world primary Djokovic, who can return to the highest of the rankings if he wins the Australian Open for a record-extending 10th time, shall be a complete new prospect.
Paul, ranked 35, and the Serb nice have by no means performed one another earlier than.
“I saw him in the locker room after I finished my match. He said, ‘congrats’,” mentioned the 25-year-old, including they’d practised collectively earlier than.
“Obviously he’s pretty comfortable here in Australia,” the American added. “It’s going to be a challenging match but I’m playing some of my best tennis, so it’s a good time.”
The different semi-final is between third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Russian 18th seed Karen Khachanov.