By securing his 26th consecutive win at the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic tied the record set by his former coach Andre Agassi and advanced to the semifinals.
The nine-time champion demonstrated exceptional skill once more, displaying precision and accuracy in his shots as he won 6-1 6-2 6-4 against fifth seed Andrey Rublev on Rod Laver Arena, securing a spot in the next round against unseeded American Tommy Paul.
Since 2018, Djokovic has remained unbeatable at Melbourne Park, extending his winning streak in Australia to 39 matches. He now holds the record of consecutive victories in Australia, equaling Agassi’s achievement between the years 2000 and 2004.
Djokovic expressed his satisfaction with his performance, stating
I cannot be happier with my tennis. I’ve been playing very solid. I love playing in these conditions, on this court. Overall I think the scoreline in the first two sets doesn’t do justice to the match. Andrey is a great player, but I managed to bring my best game to the important moments and shots.
Though the fifth seed showed some signs of discomfort in his left hamstring, it did not impede his ability to move swiftly around the court and counter everything Rublev hit at him. He was more perturbed by a spectator who shouted “Come on Andrey, send him home” during the first set, which drew boos from the mostly pro-Djokovic crowd and prompted the Serbian to complain to British umpire James Keothavong.
In the second set, Rublev also sought assistance from Keothavong, feeling that Djokovic should have received a time violation, but the Russian, who was striving for his first semi-final appearance at the seventh try, was mainly upset by Djokovic’s playing.
Djokovic, who has never lost a match once he reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park, performed almost flawlessly in crucial moments, saving all five break points he faced, and securing the victory in a span of two hours and three minutes.
Earlier Paul, 25-year-old American, secured a spot in his first grand slam semi-final by defeating fellow American Ben Shelton in a closely contested match. Despite being 20 years old and relatively inexperienced, Shelton had been one of the tournament’s standout players.
However, Paul’s greater experience proved to be the decisive factor as he secured a 7-6 (6) 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory. Speaking after the match, Paul expressed his excitement and noted that he would prefer to play Djokovic in the semi-final as it would be an awesome opportunity.
Paul, who will enter the top 20 rankings for the first time after the tournament, became the first American man to reach the semi-finals in Australia since Andy Roddick in 2009. With Sebastian Korda also making it to the last eight, this marks the strongest showing by American men in a grand slam in nearly 20 years, suggesting an exciting new era for American tennis.
Despite being young and relatively inexperienced, Shelton has generated a lot of excitement, but on this occasion, Paul came out on top. Paul’s mother also made an effort to support her son, flying to Melbourne after his fourth-round win and arriving on Wednesday morning.