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Novak Djokovic dismantles Andrey Rublev to make Australian Open semi-finals

Djokovic dismantles Rublev to make Australian Open semi-finals
© Reuters
Novak Djokovic cruises into the semi-finals of the Australian Open after claiming a 6-1 6-2 6-4 victory over Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev.

Novak Djokovic's quest for a 10th Australian Open title continued with a demolition job of Russia's Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals at the Rod Laver Arena.

The former world number one was as merciless as ever in a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win over the 25-year-old, who suffered another Grand Slam quarter-final exit in two hours and three minutes.

After holding in his opening service game, Rublev was soon powerless to defend against the Djokovic juggernaut, as the Serbian won the next five games to storm to a first-set triumph.

The second set followed an almost identical pattern, with Rublev keeping Djokovic at bay in the early exchanges before the fourth seed's ruthlessness came to the fore at 2-2.

Djokovic quickly earned the double break before holding to move one set away from a place in the semi-final, although he squandered four set points and saved a break point before making no mistake on the fifth.

An increasingly frustrated Rublev - who was not shy in letting out screams of anguish - sent a close-range volley just wide of the tramlines as Djokovic broke early in the third set, and Djokovic would hold convincingly before bringing up three match points on serve.

Following some unsavoury crowd disruption, Rublev netted one final forehand to send Djokovic through to the final four, and the 35-year-old will now take on Tommy Paul for a place in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas or Karen Khachanov after the American defeated 20-year-old compatriot Ben Shelton in four sets.

Magda Linette in action at the Australian Open on January 25, 2023© Reuters

Paul prevailed 7-6[6] 6-3 5-7 6-4 in three hours and six minutes, despite facing 24 aces from rising star Shelton, who also saved 12 of the 15 break points he faced to no avail.

In the women's singles tournament, the magical run of Magda Linette - competing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final - continued as she beat Karolina Pliskova in straight sets in just under 90 minutes.

The 30-year-old claimed a 6-3 7-5 victory, despite being broken in the opening game of the match, as seven double faults from Pliskova bedevilled the Czech 30th seed.

Linette now prepares for a true test of her mettle in the final four against Belarusian fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka, who posted a straightforward 6-3 6-2 win over Donna Vekic in one hour and 50 minutes.

Double faults from both players - 23 in total - and unforced errors plagued the contest, as Vekic wasted nine of her 10 break points in the first set and could not recover after falling 3-0 down in the second.

Linette and Sabalenka will now vie for the opportunity to meet two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka or reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in the final.

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Novak Djokovic reacts at the Australian Open on January 23, 2023
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