Australian Open Championship. Novak Djokovic beats Andrei Rublev to reach Tommy Paul semi-finals in Melbourne | Tennis news

Novak Djokovic produced another masterclass at the Australian Open, beating fifth seed Andrei Rublev in straight sets to reach the semi-finals.

Djokovic won 6-1 6-2 6-4 in Melbourne, where he is bidding for a record 10th crown and 22nd Grand Slam title, to set up a last-four meeting with American Tommy Paul.

Djokovic targeted Rublev’s forehand and second serve with venomous returns in windy conditions at Rod Laver Arena to take a 3-1 lead in the first set after the Russian fifth seed double-faulted on a break point and the Serb pulled away.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during his quarterfinal match against Russia's Andrei Rublev at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.  (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Novak Djokovic will face Tommy Paul on Friday

After taking the match ahead with a superb backhand crosscourt winner, Djokovic showed just how tough he is to beat on the grandest stage despite a hamstring brace due to a hamstring problem when he was broken for fourth in the fifth game of the second set.

He played superbly to save a break point in the next game and unleashed a huge roar before doubling his lead for the match after a frustrated Rublev unloaded on his coach in the stands after another double fault.

Djokovic bounced back in the next set as Rublev ran out of ideas and lost in a serious approach in the seventh quarter-final as the former No. 1 cruised to a convincing win on serve.

More to follow…

Paul takes down Shelton in the All-American Showdown

Tommy Paul became the first American to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open since Andy Roddick in 2009, overcoming compatriot Ben Shelton 7-6(8-6) 6-3 5-7 6-4 earlier on Wednesday.

Tommy Paul of the United States celebrates after defeating compatriot Ben Shelton in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.  (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Tommy Paul is through to the semi-finals in Melbourne

Paul held his nerve on the big points and held off his 20-year-old opponent’s stunning serve well to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final. He joins John Isner and Francis Tiafoe as the only active American men to reach the last four of a major.

“I was doing a lot of interviews yesterday where I was asked how it felt to be in the quarters, but the semis sounds better,” Paul said. “I’m excited to be here and I’m excited to play in the next round. It is everyone’s dream to perform well in the Grand Slam tournaments.”

Paul took a close first set in a tiebreak at Rod Laver Arena after a fierce forehand forced Shelton back to the net, and the 25-year-old led 4-2 in the next set when Shelton’s high serve was broken.

Shelton, playing in his second Grand Slam main draw, began to make errors on the court and world No. 35 Paul took a 2-0 lead with his fourth ace of the competition.

Tommy Paul of the United States, right, is congratulated by compatriot Ben Shelton after their quarter-final match at the Australian Open, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.  (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Ben Shelton (left) congratulates Tommy Paul on his quarterfinal win

Shelton clawed his way back into the match to take the third set despite trailing 4-3 at the break, but Paul recovered from his level slump to attack again in the fourth.

Pressured on Shelton’s serve, Paul got a decisive early break, although at one point he could have made it a double break. He missed the chance when his coach, Brad Stein, told him to wait on the T, only for Shelton to see the buzzer on the big screen and fire wide for another ace.

Playing without fear, world No. 89 Shelton hit 24 aces in the match, including the fastest serves of the tournament, although she was also hampered by 50 unforced errors.

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