Novak Djokovic has made unprecedented history at the Australian Open after reaching his 44th grand slam semi-final and extending his run in Melbourne to 26 straight matches. Djokovic was in imperious form once again as the big hitting Andrey Rublev had no answers for the Serbian's play.
Djokovic headed into the Australian Open quarter-final clash on a 38-match unbeaten run in Australia and 25 straight in Melbourne. And after defeating Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 he ties Andre Agassi for the most consecutive wins for a male at Melbourne Park.
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Djokovic's previous game against Aussie Alex de Minaur had many in disbelief at the 35-year-old's level of play. And Djokovic once again took his tennis to another level as he looked impenetrable on Rod Laver Arena.
The 21-time grand slam champion has now reached his 10th semi-final appearance, while he chases his 10th title, and the chance to equal Rafa Nadal's tally of 22 majors. While Djokovic appeared in total control during the match, the first set wasn't without its drama.
Halfway through the first set, Djokovic stopped play to address the chair umpire. The 21-time grand slam champion appeared to take aim at a member of the crowd who was heckling him between points.
Reports suggested the heckler said: "Come on Andrey, send him home." This sparked Djokovic to call for the chair umpire to act.
Earlier, Djokovic also faced an injury scare in the opening set. Early in the first set against the Russian, Djokovic appeared to flinch after reaching for a ball.
Tennis greats-turned commentators Jim Courier and Lleyton Hewitt said Rublev would need to move Djokovic around if he is to take advantage of any limited movement. Regardless, Djokovic maintained his focus and was able to get an early break against Rublev to lead 3-1.
Regardless, Djokovic showed why many fans believe he cannot be stopped on his way to a 10th title. Djokovic will surge to World No.2 in the rankings and overtake Nadal.
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Plenty of talk in the lead up to Djokovic's Australian Open charge has been his injured hamstring. Djokovic, has copped plenty of intense speculation that his injury may not be all it was cracked up to be.
However, Victoria Azarenka has come to the defence of Australian Open favourite. Aussie Alex De Minaur hit out at some of the speculation surrounding Djokovic, declaring on social media that he had simply been handily outplayed by the former World No.1 in their round three clash. Djokovic himself would later hit out at media speculation, asking why his injuries were frequently questioned.
And Azarenka has jumped to his defence over the narrative regarding his injury.
“It is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues … that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situations," he said. Those comments struck a chord for Azarenka, who endured a somewhat similar controversy on her way to winning the second of her two Australian Open titles in 2013.
“I actually can resonate with what Novak said the other day," Azarenka said. “Assumptions and judgments, all those comments, are just sh*t because nobody’s there to see the full story.
“It didn’t matter how many times I said my story, it did not cut through. Actually it’s funny that you’re saying that because I was thinking about it. It took me 10 f**king years to get over it.”
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