Novak Djokovic was in the zone to blitz past the Russian fifth seed 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena and set up a meeting with Tommy Paul for a place in Sunday's final
Novak Djokovic said he "sent a message" at the Australian Open by thrashing Andrey Rublev on Wednesday to make the semi-finals and edge closer to a 22nd Grand Slam title. The Serb was in the zone to blitz past the Russian fifth seed 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena and set up a meeting with Tommy Paul for a place in Sunday's final. The unseeded American defeated countryman Ben Shelton 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in his quarter-final. Djokovic's quest for a record-extending 10th Australian Open title was far from smooth at the start, plagued by a hamstring strain suffered en route to the title at Adelaide this month. Special moments at Rod Laver Arena @DjokerNole #AusOpen #AO2023 pic.twitter.com/vTMzxjMAWK
The 35-year-old struggled physically in the early rounds but was dominant during his fourth-round demolition of Alex de Minaur and was ruthless once more against 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," he said. "With this kind of game the confidence level rises, so I feel better on the court as the tournament progresses. I've been in this situation so many times in my life and career," he added after reaching a 10th semi-final at Melbourne Park. Only Roger Federer (15) and Jack Crawford (11) have been there more often.
"I've never lost a semi-final in the Australian Open, hopefully that will stay the same."
After the match, Djokovic wished his mother Dijana Djokovic on her birthday, which was on Tuesday, in a cute gesture.