Fri, 03 Feb 2023

ANKARA - Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic keeps chasing his 10th Australian Open title as he last beat Russian national Andrey Rublev with straight sets to march to the semifinals on Wednesday.

Fourth seed Djokovic ousted Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in a men's singles quarterfinals match at Rod Laver Arena to book his place in the final four in Melbourne.

World no. 5 Rublev, competing under a neutral flag like other Russian and Belarusian athletes for Russia's war on Ukraine, has returned home.

Australian Open frequenter Djokovic, 35, will play against US player Tommy Paul in the semifinal phase on Friday.

Paul beat his compatriot Ben Shelton 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in a quarterfinals clash that lasted for at least three hours at Rod Laver Arena.

In other men's quarterfinals matches, Karen Khachanov advanced to the semifinals on Tuesday after a wrist injury forced his opponent Sebastian Korda to retire from the match.

World no. 18 Khachanov was leading 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 3-0, but Korda from the US retired from their quarterfinal match at Rod Laver Arena.

Korda, 22, eliminated two-time Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev and 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the previous rounds.

Khachanov, 26, will take on Greek third-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, in the semifinals that will be played Friday.

Tsitsipas beat 21-year-old Czech player Jiri Lehecka 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 in a quarterfinal match.

Before 2023, the 24-year-old Greek athlete reached the semifinals three times in the Australian Open, which is his top achievement in Melbourne.

Tsitsipas was the 2021 French Open finalist, his best performance in the tennis majors.

In the women's division, Aryna Sabalenka and Magda Linette qualified in the semifinals after beating their respective opponents.

Polish player Linette beat Czech national Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5 while World no. 5 Sabalenka of Belarus dominated Croatia's Donna Vekic 6-3, 6-2 to meet Linette in the semifinal.

Both Linette and Sabalenka reached the semifinal stage in the Australian Open for the first time in their careers each.

Like Russian players, Sabalenka has been also competing under a neutral flag for Russia's war on Ukraine, which started in February 2022.

Other women's semifinalists are Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina who defeated Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the sets of 6-2, 6-4. She will face winner of the Jessica Pegula vs. Victoria Azarenka.

The women's singles semifinal will be played on Thursday.

The 2023 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, will run through Jan. 29.

The women's final will be held on Saturday, and it will be followed by the men's final on Sunday. (Anadolu)


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