Tommy Paul and his girlfriend are the talk of the Australian Open, and the pair were caught in rather awkward scenes on Wednesday. Paul continued his incredible run at Melbourne Park, beating fellow American Ben Shelton 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 5-7 6-4 to set up a semi-final showdown with Novak Djokovic.
The World No.35 had never reached the fourth round at a major before this Australian Open. However his win over Shelton sealed his place in an unlikely semi-final against the nine-time champion Djokovic.
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Speaking to Aussie great and Channel 9 commentator John Fitzgerald in an on-court interview, Paul was over the moon. The American paid tribute to his mother and girlfriend after his mum only arrived in Australia on the day of his match.
"She hopped on a plane yesterday," Paul revealed. "She got here this morning. She went straight from work to the airport."
Paul then gave a cute shout-out to girlfriend Paige Lorenze, wishing her a happy birthday for Thursday. "If you guys see her, make sure you wish her happy birthday," he said.
If that wasn't embarrassing enough for Lorenze, Fitzgerald then quipped: "They look like sisters up there." Paul laughed sheepishly, responding "no comment."
Lorenze, a social media influencer who boasts 399,000 followers on Instagram, seems to be enjoying her time in Australia. The 25-year-old has posted a number of photos at the beach during her trip Down Under, while also checking out the sights in Melbourne.
Can Tommy Paul take down Novak Djokovic?
Paul's win over Shelton made him the first American man since 2009 to make the semi-finals at the Australian Open. He now faces the monumental challenge of taking on 21-time grand slam champion Djokovic.
"I was doing a couple of interviews and they were asking how I felt to be in the quarter-finals, and I was like, 'semi-finals sounds a little better'," Paul said. "I'm pumped to be there and obviously really excited for whoever I play on Friday.
"Making it to the second weekend of a slam, that's everyone's dream when they start playing tennis. So I can't believe I'm here right now."
Djokovic was in ominous form as he dispatched Andrey Rublev in straight sets later on Wednesday. The Serbian star won 6-1 6-2 6-4 to reach his 44th grand slam semi-final and 10th at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic has never lost at the Australian Open after making the semi-finals. The World No.5 seems hell-bent on winning the title to go equal with Rafa Nadal on 22 grand slam titles.
"Last two matches, playing against two guys that are really good players, in-form players, to beat them dominantly in three sets is something that is definitely something that I want in this moment, something that sends a message to all my opponents remaining in the draw," he told reporters. "With this kind of match, of course the confidence level rises, considering the circumstances.
"I feel good on the court, better and better as the tournament progresses. I've been in this situation in so many times in my life, in my career, never lost a semi-finals in Australian Open. Hopefully that will stay the same."
To make things even spicier ahead of the semi-final, video has re-emerged of the moment Paul seemingly snubbed Djokovic at the Laver Cup last year. The footage has been doing the rounds on social media in recent days, appearing to show Paul avoiding shaking hands with Djokovic after a match.
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