It was Djokovic’s 44th time reaching the last four at the Grand Slams, leaving him six ahead of Rafa Nadal and just two behind his other great rival and 20-time main champion Roger Federer.
Making hardcourt look easy 💪@DjokerNole is on his 10th #AusOpen semifinal!@wwos • @espn • @eurosport •… https://t.co/9KlwJj44r7
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1674644084000
“I couldn’t be happier with my tennis, I was solid from the back of the court. I love these conditions, this court, it’s definitely special to me,” said Djokovic.
Djokovic targeted Rublev’s forehand and second serve with toxic returns in windy conditions Rod Laver Arena and led 3–1 in the first set after the Russian fifth seed double-faulted at the breakpoint and the Serb retired from there.
Special moments at the Rod Laver Arena 💙@DjokerNole • #AusOpen • #AO2023 https://t.co/vTMzxjMAWK
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1674644952000
“You have to make adjustments and adapt,” Djokovic said of playing in difficult conditions. “It wasn’t windy at 6pm and it started all of a sudden.
“People in the stands or watching on TV don’t see it. But it makes a huge difference because you have to pick and choose your shots and open up the field. Throwing the ball is a gamble.
Longest men’s singles winning streaks at the #AusOpen (Open Era)26 – @AndreAgassi26 – @DjokerNole #AO2023 https://t.co/KTCdXnmoyV
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1674644595000
“The score in the first two sets doesn’t reflect reality. Andrey is a great opponent, he has one of the biggest forehands. I knew the game plan, but it’s one thing to imagine and another to execute .”
After taking the lead in the match with a brilliant backhand crosscourt winner, Djokovic showed how hard he is to beat on the biggest stage despite a thigh sprain due to a hamstring problem after breaking the fourth seed in the fifth game of the second set .
He played superbly to save a break point in the next game and let out a huge roar before doubling his lead in the game after a frustrated Rublev was offloaded to his coach in the stands on another double foul.
Djokovic plunged early in the next set with Rublev looking bereft of ideas and a seventh quarterfinal defeat looming as the former number one took a convincing serve win to secure a last four meeting with American on to put. Tommy Paul.
“If I have to sum up the important strokes, I have found my best tennis,” said Djokovic.
“Obviously he (Paul) doesn’t have much to lose as he’s in the semi-finals for the first time. He’s been playing great tennis over the past 15 months.
“I have to be mentally ready for the game and not do it differently. If I play like this, I have a good chance to continue.”