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Djokovic beats Rublev to go to the semifinals in the Australian Open


Djokovic beats Rublev to go to the semifinals in the Australian Open

In the quarterfinals on Wednesday at Melbourne Park, ninth-seeded Novak Djokovic advanced to face second-seeded Rublev.

The 35-year-old Serbian was very brutal in his 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 thrashing of the Russian.

The left thigh of the fourth seed was wrapped once more as he prepared to face American Tommy Paul in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Paul, a 35th-ranked 25-year-old, defeated 20-year-old compatriot Ben Shelton in four sets (a scoreline of 7-6(8-6), 6-3, 5-7, and 6-4) to advance to his first major semifinal.

In the other semi-final, Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Russian Karen Khachanov on Friday.

Djokovic is the odds-on favourite to win the tournament after reaching the men’s quarterfinals as the lone defending champion. He is attempting to tie the record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles.

To beat Rublev was his 26th straight victory at Melbourne Park, matching the record set by American Andre Agassi during the Open era.

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Djokovic is now six times ahead of Rafael Nadal and only two short of his other great adversary and 20-time major champion Roger Federer after reaching the final four at the Grand Slams for the 44th time.

On a windy Rod Laver Arena, he pounced on a double fault by the Russian fifth seed, Andrey Rublev, to take a 3-1 lead in the opening set. From there, he went on to win the match.

Djokovic, the fourth seed, broke in the fifth game of the second set after grabbing the lead in the match with a superb backhand crosscourt winner. Despite having his thigh taped due to a hamstring ailment, Djokovic shown once again how difficult he is to beat on the largest platform.

After Rublev exploded at his coach from the stands after yet another double fault, he played well to save a break point in the next game and then went on to double his lead.

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With Rublev seemingly out of ideas and facing elimination from the majors for the seventh time in a row in the quarterfinals, Djokovic pounced early in the second set and cruised to an easy victory on service.

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