Djokovic is disturbed by rowdy fans, but reaches the last four in Melbourne
Novak Djokovic has reached the Australian Open semi-finals for the tenth time. Even a number of “drunken” spectators did not destabilize the Serb during his penalty shootout against Russian Andrej Rublev: 6-1, 6-2. 6-4.
Djokovic started his match visibly pissed off and, like earlier in the tournament, was annoyed by comments from a number of spectators.
“Can you tell those drunk guys to shut up?” Djokovic asked the referee. “Every dot, every dot… They might have yelled something ten times, but you’re not doing anything about it.”
His tennis did not suffer, as the nine-time winner was already leading 4-1 in the first set at that time. And presumably fueled by hostility from the group of fans, Djokovic continued against the hopeless Rublev.
The Russian world number six tried to injure Djokovic with his famous hard blows. Rublev was only sporadically successful as the Serbian’s defense worked like a well-oiled machine.
And also with the hotly debated fitness Djokovic is still fine. He replayed his game with a wrapped left leg due to an unintended hamstring, but apparently wasn’t bothered by it.
There was also a lot of noise in the stands in the last game of the game, but Djokovic served the game calmly.
“Wound under control”
Djokovic said afterwards that he had his hamstring injury under control. “To be honest, I’ve never been so attached to machines or to bed on rest days. I wanted to get as much information as possible to maintain my leg, and it works.”
Followed by Magda Linette in women, the American Tommy Paul became the biggest surprise of the men’s tournament in Melbourne.
Unranked Paul reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time by beating 20-year-old compatriot Ben Shelton: 7-6(6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 .
Paul is the first American to reach the Australian Open men’s semi-final since Andy Roddick in 2009.
Believe it or not, the young Shelton will play his first tennis tournament outside the United States this year in Australia. Despite his inexperience, the former college tennis player showed no respect for his more experienced compatriot.
Still, the routine of 25-year-old Paul, world number 35, was the deciding factor. Shelton (ATP-89) really couldn’t keep up the momentum after winning the third set and made too many mistakes.
Paul broke Shelton in the opener of the fourth set and didn’t give up that advantage, thanks in part to a smooth and solid final game.
The American, who won his first and only ATP title so far in Stockholm 2021, will play against Djokovic in the semi-finals.
The other semi-final is already known: the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, third, meets the Russian Karen Chatsjanov, eighteenth.
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