Novak Djokovic admits his fatigue in Australia is fueling him as he chases a 10th title at Melbourne Park.
The Serbian was in fine form again with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win over fifth seed Andrey Rublev at Rod Laver Arena to set up a semi-final with American Tommy Paul.
Djokovic, who is unbeaten at the Australian Open, is trying to make up for lost time after last year’s vaccine furor and dismissal while battling a left hamstring problem this year.
“I don’t think I’m lacking in determination,” said Djokovic, who set former coach Andre Agassi’s record 26th straight victory.
“I always try to give my best, especially in the Grand Slams, because at this stage of my career they are really the most important tournaments.
But you could say there’s more to this year, yes. Because of the injury, you can say what happened last year. I really wanted to do well.
“I have a perfect score so far in the Australian hard courts, in Adelaide and here. I’m playing better and better. I couldn’t ask for a better situation right now.
The fifth seed looked troubled on his feet again, but his big hit didn’t stop him from rabbiting around the court with everything the Russian ruble threw at him.
The heckler was further moved by chants of “Andre, send him home” during the first set, prompting loud boos from mostly Djokovic fans and prompting the Serbian to complain to British umpire James Keotavong.
This tournament marks the third time Djokovic has been targeted by fans, and “if this continues, it will continue to happen.” There’s not much I can do about it. Only a few individuals. I cannot judge an entire nation because of a few individuals.
“If someone crosses the line and starts making comments that are not related to the support of the other player, he only wants to provoke and insult, then stepping out of the line is my response. Maybe the first time, not the second time, but after that, yes. Then I ask the chair referee to respond.
“I heard him afterwards but he was supporting Rublev. He didn’t make any bad comments until the end of the game so I had no complaints.
It was Djokovic’s turn to appeal to Kyotavong in the second set when he felt he had to accept a time violation, but the Russian was often frustrated by his man at the other end as he bid to reach his first Sulam semi-final at the seventh attempt. the court.
Earlier, Paul got the better of fellow American Ben Shelton to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.
The 20-year-old Shelton’s run to his second major and his first trip outside the USA was one of tournament history, but Paul used his superior experience to record 7-6 (6) 6. -3 5-7 6-4 win.
“I’m very happy,” the 25-year-old said before the second quarter-final. It wasn’t the prettiest match today but it was how I played the game. It’s a great server. I had to file as many returns as I could.
“But I’m so excited, man. that’s great. I think it would be cooler if I played[Djokovic]. I probably have a better chance of winning if it’s Rublev, but playing Novak here in Australia would be great.
Paul, who will enter the top 20 for the first time since the tournament, will become the first American to reach the semifinals here since Andy Roddick in 2009.
He was welcomed by his American mother, who flew into Melbourne on Wednesday morning after his fourth-round win.
“It was cool,” he said. “Honestly, when I first heard about it, I was really scared because I had a great experience going here and I didn’t want to change anything.
“After thinking about it for a bit, I said, ‘Yeah, I’m in the quarterfinals of the shot put. She sacrificed a ton to get me here. She deserves to be here and see me win big matches. I’m so excited to see her and have her here.
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