Nine-time champion Novak Djokovic reached the Australian Open semi-finals, sweeping aside fifth seed Andrey Rublev in a devastating display.
Serbia’s Djokovic, 35, cut a frustrated figure at times but channelled his emotions into a ruthless 6-1 6-2 6-4 win over Russia’s Rublev in Melbourne.
The fourth seed, who again had his left thigh strapped, will play American Tommy Paul in the last four on Friday.
Paul, 25, ended Ben Shelton’s surprise run to reach a first major semi-final.
World number 35 Paul won 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 5-7 6-4 against 20-year-old compatriot Shelton on Rod Laver Arena.
Former world number one Djokovic, who was the only major champion in the men’s quarter-finals, is favourite for the title as he chases a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam.
Beating Rublev was his 26th consecutive win at Melbourne Park, equalling the Open-era streak recorded by American Andre Agassi.
‘I cannot be happier with my tennis’
On how his win ranks against his performance against Alex de Minaur in the fourth round: “I would rank it as number two, it was close to the performance of two nights ago.
“I cannot be happier with my tennis honestly, I’ve been playing very solid from the back of the court and I really love playing in these conditions on this court. I’ve said it many times, I love playing here, definitely the most special court for me.”
On the breezy conditions:
“You have to make adjustments and adapt to the conditions. It wasn’t as breezy as when I was warming up but all of a sudden it started at the beginning of the match.
“For us players, it makes a huge difference, you’re playing with a lot of pressure and you have to pick and choose your shots, maybe open up the court a little bit more.
“The ball toss is a little bit of a gamble but overall, I think the scoreline doesn’t speak the truth or the reality of the match, there were some really close games that we had.
“Andrey is a great opponent, a great player, I have tonnes of respect for him.
“He has one of the biggest forehands, [he’s] one of the quickest players on the tour.
“If I had to sum it up, in all the important moments I played my best tennis so that’s what makes me the most pleased tonight.”
On his injury:
“I’ve been connected to machines more than I have been connected to anyone else in the days off. I have tried any biofeedback machine there is on this planet to get my leg ready, and it worked.
“I’m going to keep going. I miss tennis on the days off but I think it’s important to be smart and wise with the body in these circumstances where it’s more important to recover and get ready for the next challenge.”
On facing Tommy Paul next:
“Obviously he doesnt have much to lose, first time in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam.
“I’ve got to be ready for the match, not approach it any way differently than I have the last couple of matches.
“If I play this way I think I have a good chance to go through.”
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