Novak Djokovic two games away from Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam title record


Serbian Novak Djokovic in Melbourne, during the Australian Open quarter-final against Russian Andrey Rublev, January 25, 2023.

A tenth semi-final at the Australian Open with, in sight, a tenth final and as many trophies. Novak Djokovic joined, Wednesday January 25, the American Tommy Paul – 35e of the ATP ranking – in the last four of the first Major of the season. Despite discomfort in the left thigh, he clearly dominated in the quarters the Russian Andrey Rublev (6-1, 6-2, 6-4), seeded number 5, in two hours of play.

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“I couldn’t be happier with my tennis”assured the 35-year-old Serb, looking for a 22e Grand Slam title, which would allow him to equal the record of Spaniard Rafael Nadal. The planets seem aligned: each time he qualified for the semis at the antipodes, “Djoko” won the tournament. In addition to the crown, he could also regain his throne of world number 1 – he who currently points to fifth place in the rankings.

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But he will first have to overcome Tommy Paul, Friday January 27 (at midnight, Paris time). The native of Atlanta (Georgia, United States) validated his ticket at the expense of his compatriot Ben Shelton (7-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4). At 25, he will play his first Grand Slam semi-final and will challenge Djokovic for the very first time. “Paul is playing very well, he has nothing to lose, but if I play as I played, I have my chances”assured the Serb, sure of his strength.

The other half will oppose, the same day at the same time, Stefanos Tsitsipas (4e) to Karen Khachanov. In the quarter-finals, the Greek defeated the Czech Jiri Lehecka (6-3, 7-6, 6-4), while the Russian won his duel against the American Sebastian Korda (7-6, 6 -3, 6-0).

Two Belarusians in the semi-finals

In the women’s draw, two Belarusians managed to climb into the last four. Victoria Azarenka (24)e), already twice winner in Melbourne (2012, 2013), beat the American Jessica Pegula (3e) in two sets (6-4, 6-1). Aryna Sabalenka (5e) defeated Croatian Donna Vekic (6-3, 6-2).

They will respectively meet Elena Rybakina (22e) and Magda Linette. The Kazakh won (6-2, 6-4) against Latvian Jelena Ostapenko (17e), while the Pole beat the Czech Karolina Pliskova (30e). This half will be a great first for Linette, 30, faller of the French Caroline Garcia (4e)one of the favorites, in the round of 16

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Defeated three times in the Grand Slam semi-finals (Wimbledon 2021, US Open 2021 and 2022), Sabalenka will try to win her place in the final of a major tournament for the first time in her career. The two ladies’ semi-finals of this Australian Open will be played on Thursday January 26 from 9:30 a.m. (Paris time).

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