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World No 1 Djokovic cruises into semis at 2024 Australian Open

The Serbian player will stand against the winner of the quarterfinal match between Russia’s Andrey Rublev and Italy’s Jannik Sinner

SYDNEY, January 23. /TASS/. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has reached the semifinals of this year’s opening Grand Slam tournament, the 2024 Australian Open, after defeating Taylor Fritz of the United States on Tuesday.

In a quarterfinal match that lasted for 3 hours and 45 minutes, the tournament’s top seed traded wins in the first two sets against the 12th-seeded Fritz, but then romped past him in the following two frames as the match ended 7-6 (7-3); 4-6; 6-2; 6-3.

"I suffered a lot the first couple of sets, also due to his high-quality tennis," the tournament’s official website quoted Djokovic as saying after his match with Fritz. "He was serving well, he was staying close to the line, he was really kind of suffocating me from the back of the court."

"I was most of the rallies on my back foot. It was really difficult to find the right timing. It was extremely hot while the sun was still out, physically and emotionally very draining ... He's playing amazing tennis," he continued.

The victory over Fritz is Djokovic’s 33rd win in a row at the Australian Open, a streak that goes back to 2018. The Serbian tennis star missed the 2022 Australian Open after refusing to get an anti-COVID vaccine shot.

"I think I upped my game probably midway through the third set all the way to the end. I served extremely well. I think I had probably even more aces than he did, which is a surprise stat, but it helped a lot in this kind of match-up," Djokovic added.

The Serbian ace will now play in the semifinals against Italy’s Jannik Sinner (4th-seed), who defeated 5th-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 6-4; 7-6 (7-5); 6-3 later in the day.

Djokovic, 36, shares the all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles with women’s great Margaret Court. However, Court won 13 out of her 24 Grand Slam champion’s titles before the Open Era (since 1968). On the men’s side, Djokovic’s closest contender in terms of Grand Slam titles is Spain’s Rafael Nadal with 22.

In addition to his 24 Grand Slam titles, Djokovic has won 98 ATP (the Association of Tennis Professionals) titles, a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and the 2010 Davis Cup.

Last year, Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments, not dropping a set in any of his finals appearances. He defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3; 7-6; 7-6 at the 2023 Australian Open, outplayed Norway’s Casper Ruud 7-6 (7-1); 6-3; 7-5 at the 2023 French Open in addition to his 2023 US Open win over Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev. In his only defeat on the biggest stage in 2023, the Serb suffered a five-set defeat to Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon, which prevented him from completing the elusive calendar Grand Slam.

The 2024 Australian Open tournament is being played on hard courts at Melbourne Park on January 14-28 and has a purse of $57.8 mln in prize money up for grabs. The opening tournament of the annual Grand Slam series in Australia marks its 112th edition this year. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka are the reigning Australian Open champions in men’s and women’s singles, respectively.