Novak Djokovic said even his vivid imagination could not have dreamt up playing a 10th Australian Open final 15 years after winning his first at Melbourne Park.

The Serbian great has the chance to win a record-equalling 22nd grand slam for a male player after hammering Tommy Paul 7-5 6-1 6-2 – a scoreline that would have been even more commanding had Djokovic not endured a first-set blip from 5-1 up.

Djokovic is already a nine-time singles champion in Melbourne, with his first triumph coming back in 2008, and only Stefanos Tsitsipas stands in his way of a 10th.

"I have a pretty vivid and strong imagination, but even I don't think I imagined it would turn out this way," he said during his on-court interview on Rod Laver Arena.

"Super blessed and grateful, I'm trying to cherish and marvel in every moment. Without my family, without my team these things wouldn't be possible. 

"You're by yourself, all eyes are on you, you take responsibility, you take credit, but you have to give credit where it's due and that's to the team who live with me day by day in good and bad moments. This is as much their success as it is mine."

Only one other male player has won double-digit titles at a single slam, that being Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

Tsitsipas is a player Djokovic has faced in a major final before, defeating the Greek at the 2021 French Open showpiece in a match where he had to come from sets down.

"I won that match, so my recollections are very positive!" Djokovic added to a laugh.

"I came from two sets to love down, I think it was the first time I came down from two sets down in a slam final. It was his first slam final, a really physical and emotional battle. It always is with Stefanos. 

"I respect him a lot, he's one of the most interesting guys off the court, with his interests and hairstyle. But it's all business on Sunday, let the best player win."

Both players were involved in a slog at the start of the second set and when asked about his energy levels, Djokovic joked: "It's great, it's perfect, it's 110 per cent!"

He then added: "Look, of course you're not as fresh as at the beginning of the tournament that's for sure.

"We put a lot of effort in the off season weeks on our fitness, to be in good enough condition to play best-of-five sets."

Sunday's victor will also ascend to the top of the ATP rankings, something Djokovic concedes does add extra spice.

"Of course it does, winning grand slams and being number one are the two biggest peaks you can climb as a tennis player," he said. "Let's see what happens."

Novak Djokovic limped into his 10th Australian Open final with a record-breaking 27th consecutive win in Melbourne against Tommy Paul on Friday.

Djokovic, who has never lost either a semi-final or a final at the first major of the season, came through 7-5 6-1 6-2 to eclipse the Andre Agassi win streak he had tied with a last-eight defeat of Andrey Rublev.

Despite a similar scoreline, however, this was not quite as straightforward as that prior match – particularly in a first set the nine-time champion threatened to throw away.

Djokovic also appeared to be suffering again with the hamstring injury that hampered his preparation for the tournament, but he now needs to come through just one more match, against Stefanos Tsitsipas, to add another title.

The semi ended as it started, with Djokovic in control, yet there was a blip when he looked to be coasting through the opener.

Having just passed up his first set point, Djokovic confronted the umpire when he was not allowed time to take a towel and appeared to lose his focus, allowing Paul to win the next seven points en route to consecutive breaks – the second clinched with a stunning 30-stroke rally.

Finally, with the set level, Djokovic regained some composure and soon enough took a long-awaited second set point before cupping his ear to the Melbourne crowd and being greeted with jeers in return.

It quickly became clear Paul had missed his chance as Djokovic cruised, his primary foe now that troublesome injury.

After stretching out his leg during the first-set collapse, the Serbian appeared in discomfort throughout a dominant second, asking for ice at 5-0 up ahead of Paul's sole hold in the set.

That ailment did not prove enough to derail Djokovic, though, as the third set followed a similar theme in an ultimately commanding semi success.

Data Slam: Djokovic closing on career-best streak

Now the sole owner of the longest Open Era winning streak in the main draw of the men's singles tournament at the Australian Open, Djokovic will match his best run at any grand slam if he beats Tsitsipas, having claimed 28 straight victories at Wimbledon.

Only Roger Federer (40 at the US Open and 40 at Wimbledon) and Bjorn Borg (41 at Wimbledon and 28 at the French Open) have previously had 27-match win sequences at two different majors.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 12/5
Paul – 4/0

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 31/39
Paul – 18/32

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 7/11
Paul – 2/9

Rafael Nadal remains on course to return to action in March after undergoing further tests on the hip flexor injury he sustained on his way out of the Australian Open.

The 22-time major winner failed to defend his crown in Melbourne after losing 6-4 6-4 7-5 to world number 65 Mackenzie McDonald last week.

Nadal struggled to move around the court in the closing stages of the match and revealed afterwards he had aggravated an issue he had been suffering with for a couple of days.

An MRI scan showed the Spaniard had a grade two iliopsoas tear in his hip flexor, which would usually mean between six and eight weeks out of action.

After returning home to undergo further checks on Thursday, Nadal confirmed he is on course to return in that initial timeframe.

"Today I have been at the Tecknon Tennis Clinic in Barcelona where they have carried out some tests on me," he posted on his personal Twitter page.

"The Melbourne results are confirmed and the deadlines remain the same. I've established the treatments to follow and in three weeks they will perform new tests to see the evolution."

Nadal faces a battle getting back to full fitness in time for the Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000 events in March.

Those were due to be preceded on his schedule by a high-profile exhibition match in Las Vegas against Carlos Alcaraz, who is also currently injured, on March 5.

Nadal was distraught to suffer yet another injury setback after severe foot and abdomen problems hit his 2022 season.

"In terms of sports and in terms of injuries and tough moments, I mean, that's another one," Nadal said last week. 

"I can't say that I am not destroyed mentally at this time, because I will be lying."

Victoria Azarenka was not impressed with being asked a "provocative question" about a pro-Russia demonstration at the Australian Open after her semi-final defeat to Elena Rybakina.

Azarenka's quest to end a 10-year wait for a third grand slam singles title ended when the Belarusian was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 by the Wimbledon champion on Thursday.

The 33-year-old's loss on Rod Laver Arena came after Novak Djokovic's father, Srdjan, was seen with supporters of Russian president Vladimir Putin at Melbourne Park.

Pro-Putin agitators staged a rally outside Rod Laver Arena, after Djokovic beat Russian Andrey Rublev to reach the last four on Wednesday, with four people later questioned by police following allegations that security guards were threatened.

Rublev has previously expressed his opposition to Russia's war in Ukraine, which has been ongoing since last February.

Putin supporters chanted and carried Serbian and Russian flags. One man appeared to be wearing a T-shirt adorned with the letter 'Z' – used as a pro-war symbol in Russia.

Srdjan Djokovic was seen standing with the group alongside a man holding a Russian flag with Putin's face on it. According to reports, he said: "Long live the Russians."

Tennis Australia banned Russian and Belarusian flags from being taken into grounds, after a spectator was reported to security for displaying one during a match between Ukraine's Kateryna Baindl and Russian Kamilla Rakhimova.

Azarenka was not happy with being asked about political issues during her post-match press conference.

She told a reporter: "You're here talking about it right now, so obviously it's a topic you want to continue to bring up and up and up again. I don't know what you want me to say."

Asked if Djokovic might be affected by the incident, Azarenka replied: "I don't know what it has to do with Novak at all, to be fair, so...

"I've spoken to actually a security guard today who was walking me to practice every day. I've known him for years. I just asked him what was the accident [sic]. He explained to me.

"I don't know what you guys want us to do about it. Like talk about it? I don't know what's the goal here that it's continuously brought up. These incidents that in my opinion have nothing to do with players, but somehow you keep dragging players into it.

"So what's the goal here? I think you should ask yourself that question, not me.

"Whatever the answer I'm going to give to you right now, it's going to be turned whichever way you want to turn it to. So does it bother me? What bothers me is there's real things that's going on in the world. I don't know. Are you a politician? Are you? Are you covering politics?"

When the reporter said: "No, I'm a sports journalist", Azarenka responded by saying: "And I'm an athlete. You're asking me about things that maybe somebody says are in my control, but I don't believe that.

"I don't know what you want me to answer. If it's a provocative question, then you can spin the story however you want."

Nick Kyrgios is aiming to return to action at Indian Wells after undergoing successful surgery on his knee, his manager Daniel Horsfall confirmed.

The 2022 Wimbledon runner-up was left "devastated" after being forced to withdraw from the Australian Open on home soil last week.

Kyrgios was ruled out of his home grand slam after an MRI scan on his knee revealed a cyst as a result of a small lateral meniscus tear.

He went under the knife on Monday and is now battling to be ready in time for the first Masters 1000 event of the season at Indian Wells, which starts on March 6.

"The surgery was a great success," Horsfall told Australian newspaper The Herald.

"We couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome of it. Now we will be pushing ahead for a speedy recovery and are aiming to see everyone at Indian Wells."

Kyrgios won the seventh ATP Tour singles title of his career in Washington last August and claimed the Australian Open men's doubles title with Thanasi Kokkinakis 12 months ago.

The 27-year-old, who has yet to play competitively this season, is a two-time quarter-finalist on the hard courts at Indian Wells.

Novak Djokovic needs no extra motivation as he aims to win the Australian Open for a 10th time, as his confidence levels continue to rise.

Djokovic stormed into the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 thrashing of Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.

The Serbian has never lost a semi-final in Melbourne, while he has matched Andre Agassi for the longest Australian Open win streak in the Open Era (26).

Asked if this is as confident he has ever felt at the season's opening major, the 21-time grand slam champion told reporters: "I can't really say that this is as confident that I ever felt because I've had some incredible seasons, years here in Australian Open, some matches that are really unforgettable for me.

"I've been fortunate to really live through a lot of success in Australian Open. But [in the] 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 sends a message to all my opponents remaining in the draw.

"With this kind of game, of course the confidence level rises. I feel good on the court, better and better as the tournament progresses.

"I've been in this situation so many times in my life, in my career, never lost a semi-final at the Australian Open. Hopefully, that will stay the same."

When it was put to Djokovic that he is even more motivated at the age of 35, Djokovic said: "I don't think that I lack determination.

"I always try to give my best, particularly in grand slams, because at this stage of my career those are the tournaments that count the most, of course.

"You could say that there is something extra this year. You could say because [of] the injury, [and] what happened last year. I just wanted to really do well.

"I have a perfect score in Australian hard courts, in Adelaide and here. I've been playing better and better. I couldn't ask for a better situation to be in at the moment."

Djokovic will face Tommy Paul in the last four, after the American defeated compatriot Ben Shelton. 

Paul has never faced Djokovic, who nevertheless knows what to expect.

"I know how he plays. I never faced him on the court, but he's been around for a few years," said Djokovic.

"I watched him play quite a bit, especially during this tournament. He's been playing probably tennis of his life. Very explosive, very dynamic player. 

"I think he can hit all the spots with the serve. A very complete player. First semi-final for him, so of course he doesn't have much to lose."

Three American men progressed to the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the first time since 2000, and the first time in any grand slam since 2005, and Djokovic believes a strong United States contingent is crucial.

"America for our sport is an extremely important country," Djokovic said. "We have some of the biggest tournaments in the world played there.

"I think it is important that we see successful American men and women. Now you have a list of maybe four or five young players that are knocking on the door of the top level. I think that's great for our sport."

Novak Djokovic claimed a share of another piece of history on Wednesday as he won his 26th consecutive match at the Australian Open.

Djokovic took the title in Melbourne in 2019, 2020 and 2021 before he was denied entry last year and subsequently deported due to his COVID-19 vaccination status.

The 21-time grand slam champion is back this year and has continued his winning run, defeating Roberto Carballes Baena, Enzo Couacaud, Grigor Dimitrov, Alex de Minaur and, on Wednesday, Andrey Rublev.

That quarter-final success saw Djokovic match Andre Agassi for the longest Australian Open win streak in the Open Era.

Agassi won 26 in a row between 2000 and 2004, likewise winning three titles, missing one tournament and then reaching a semi-final before finally being beaten.

Djokovic will hope to avoid the same fate as he bids for the outright record against Tommy Paul in the semis, although he has never been beaten in a last-four match in Melbourne, winning the title on the previous nine occasions he reached this stage.

Those nine titles are a record for any man at the Australian Open and for Djokovic at any one major.

This is also now Djokovic's favourite grand slam in terms of match wins, with the 6-1 6-2 6-4 dismantling of Rublev his 87th victory in Melbourne. It passed his 86 wins at Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic cruised into the Australian Open semi-finals with a crushing 6-1 6-2 6-4 win against Andrey Rublev, producing a near-faultless display at Rod Laver Arena.

The 21-time grand slam winner needed just over two hours to reach his 10th semi-final at the event – making him just the second player to hit double figures in the Open Era after Roger Federer (15).

Djokovic dominated from the off, breaking Rublev at just the second attempt and repeating the trick in the sixth game after angrily calling out a heckler between points.

Rublev faced seven break points in a one-sided opener as Djokovic pushed him back with a series of powerful groundstrokes, and there was to be little respite for the Russian in the second set.

Rublev gave up two breaks either side of a back-and-forth game in which Djokovic overcame intense pressure to hold, with the world number six ranting at the umpire over the time Djokovic took to serve. 

Djokovic then held serve in another lengthy game to see out the second set, before securing another swift break at the outset of the third as a frustrated Rublev hurled his racquet to the ground.

While Rublev improved in a low-key third set, Djokovic's excellent service game ensured the Russian became just the second male player in the Open Era to lose each of his first seven major quarter-finals, after Tommy Robredo.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is in ominous form in his pursuit of a record-extending 10th Australian Open title, moving freely after being troubled by a hamstring injury in the earlier rounds, as he teed up a meeting with American Tommy Paul.

Data slam: Djokovic as good as ever in resounding win

Having missed out on the Australian Open last year following his deportation from the country, Djokovic has resembled a man on a mission this time around as he looks to get his hands on the trophy for a fourth time in five years.

Djokovic is just the seventh male player to reach the Australian Open's last four after turning 35 in the Open Era, after Ken Rosewall, Roger Federer, Mal Anderson, Rafael Nadal, Arthur Ashe and Colin Dibley.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 14/5
Rublev – 6/3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 32/21
Rublev – 26/29

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 5/14
Rublev – 0/5 

Victoria Azarenka sympathised with Novak Djokovic as she stated tennis players are "not villains" after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals for the first time in a decade.

Azarenka beat Jessica Pegula 6-4 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday to set up a last-four meeting with Elena Rybakina.

Former world number one Azarenka came in for criticism when she took a medical timeout during her last semi-final at Melbourne Park back in 2013, delaying her match against Sloane Stephens by 10 minutes.

The Belarusian, who is now 33, returned to beat Stephens and went on to defend successfully her title.

Questions have been raised over the extent of a hamstring issue nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic has been contending with as he attempts to match Rafael Nadal's tally of 22 major triumphs this weekend.

Azarenka feels it is out of order for such suspicions to be raised by people who are not aware of the facts.

She said: "Do you know what happened 10 years ago? That's the thing.

"It was one of the worst things that I've ever gone through in my professional career, the way I was treated after that moment, the way I had to explain myself until 10:30pm at night because people didn't want to believe me. I actually can resonate what Novak said the other day.

"There is sometimes incredible desire for a villain and a hero story that has to be written. But we're not villains, we're not heroes, we are regular human beings that go through so many, many things.

"Assumptions and judgements, all those comments, are just s*** because nobody's there to see the full story. It didn't matter how many times I said my story, it did not cut through.

"Actually it's funny that you're saying that because I was thinking about it. It took me 10 f****** years to get over it. I finally am over that."

Asked to expound what the judgements or assumptions she experienced were, Azarenka said: "I've been called that I'm cheating, that I'm faking, that I was trying to throw people off their game. It's everything that is so wrong about my character if somebody actually knows me.

"At some point I've heard that she has this thing that is bad or this thing is bad, whatever. At some point you're like, 'Really? Am I?'. Those doubts starts to creep in.

"Now I just don't care. I am more and more confident in what I know about myself, and I'm at peace with that. Those comments, judgements, they're there. I notice them. But I don't care."

Stefanos Tsitsipas has no chip on his shoulder about how much hype he receives, despite becoming the youngest player since Roger Federer to reach three successive Australian Open semi-finals.

Tsitsipas defeated Jiri Lehecka in straight sets on Tuesday to seal his place in the last four in Melbourne.

In the process, the 24-year-old reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the third consecutive year, matching the feat of the great Federer between 2004 and 2006.

The world number four also became the fourth male player in the Open Era to stay unbeaten in his first six grand slam quarter-finals after Rod Laver, Patrick Rafter, and Andre Agassi.

However, Tsitsipas insists he is not worried by how much attention his accomplishments get.

When asked if no longer being talked about as one of the next generation's figureheads meant he now has a chip on his shoulder, the Greek replied: "No, I don't really think about it.

"Every single opponent has his own background, his own sort of dynamic they put out on the court.

"I kind of forgot that Jiri today was a next gen player. Never thought about it.

"I approach every single opponent of mine with the same mindset. I never put labels on them. Each and every match that I get to play against them is a new chapter in my book."

Tsitsipas also believes he has already been through the early stage of his development, and now views himself as one of the maturer players.

"I passed through this myself. At some point it fades out a little bit 'cause you are an adult," he said.

"I had my fair share of that. There's no other 'gen' after that, it's just adulthood. 

"It's mindset. It's clearly mindset. Nothing more."

Asked if this could be the tournament in which he breaks his grand slam duck, Tsitsipas said: "I'm feeling great with my tennis. I don't think I felt so good in a long time.

"I will definitely say yes to it. I've said it, I'm a different player, playing different. My mentality is different. When I'm out on the court, I don't really think of negatives, to be honest. I just go out there and play the game."

Stefanos Tsitsipas stormed into a third consecutive Australian Open semi-final with a straight-sets victory over Jiri Lehecka on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas has bowed out at the last-four stage in three of the past four years, but the Greek will get another chance to reach a first final after beating Lehecka 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-4.

The third seed from Greece fired down nine aces and hit 36 winners on Rod Laver Arena, winning without having his serve broken to set up a meeting with Russian Karen Khachanov.

Unseeded Czech Lehecka was broken in his first service game and Tsitsipas did not give him a look-in from then on in the first set.

The 21-year-old Lehecka had the favourite in trouble in the fourth game of the second set, but saw five break-point opportunities come and go.

Tsitsipas clinically won the tie-break to move a set away from the semi-finals, but Lehecka put up a great fight but was frustrated when he was unable to convert another three break points before the favourite held to lead 4-3.

Another tie-break looked possible until Lehecka's excellent run in only his second main-draw appearance came to an end when he netted a backhand following a thunderous cross-court winner from a fired-up Tsitsipas.


Tsitsipas maintains perfect quarter-final record

A first major title has so far eluded Tsitsipas, but he keeps knocking on the door and is two wins away from achieving that dream.

The 24-year-old is the fourth male player in the Open Era to be unbeaten in his first six grand slam quarter-finals after Rod Laver, Patrick Rafter, and Andre Agassi. 

 

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Tsitsipas – 9/2
Lehecka– 7/4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Tsitsipas– 36/28
Lehecka– 38/32

BREAK POINTS WON

Tsitsipas – 2/6
Lehecka – 0/8

Ben Shelton is juggling revision for exams with his hopes of going all the way at the Australian Open.

Shelton beat fellow American J.J. Wolf to set up a quarter-final tie with Tommy Paul – another compatriot – in Melbourne.

The 20-year-old is the lowest-ranked American player to reach a grand slam quarter-final since Todd Martin at the US Open 2000 and the lowest at the Australian Open since Michael Chang in 1996.

This trip Down Under is Shelton's first venture outside the United States, and while focusing on his budding tennis career, he is also taking a general business degree, learning via online classes.

"No exams yet, so it's going to get interesting when my exam dates might conflict with some of my matches," Shelton quipped. "A few assignments here and there. Pretty easy stuff.

"I'm taking classes at a bit slower pace than I was when I was full time in school. I don't have too difficult of a workload.

"It's very manageable while I'm playing tennis. So far in January I haven't had any problems or conflicts.

"I really want to get my degree. It's something that's important to me. That's something that I'm going to stick to and continue to do."

Shelton is one of three American players to have reached the quarters – the others Paul and Sebastian Korda.

It is the first time since the 2005 US Open that three American male players have reached the last eight at a major. It is the first time it has happened in Melbourne since 2000.

"It's definitely a surprise. I got on the plane with no expectations," Shelton said.

"I know that it's very hard to adjust to Australia from the United States just with the jet lag, time change and everything.

"It being my first time, never being out of the United States, I knew it would be a struggle.

"I think it has helped me a little bit, not having that expectation or the feeling that I have to perform, but being able to just go out there, be myself and play free. I think that's been a big contribution to my success.

"Each match that I've won here has felt the same. It's a mixture of joy, relief. I just have that feeling of ecstasy. When the last ball lands, I did it. To be able to do that on this stage four times in a row, that feeling over and over again, has been pretty cool."

Novak Djokovic felt "fantastic" as he outclassed Alex de Minaur with his best performance of the year in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The nine-time champion outclassed Australian De Minaur on Rod Laver Arena, winning 6-2 6-1 6-2 in two hours and six minutes on Monday.

A hamstring injury has been a concern for Djokovic as he bids to win a record-equalling 22nd grand slam title at Melbourne Park, but he was moving freely as he ruthlessly breezed into the quarter-finals.

The fourth seed from Serbia did not face a break point, delivering another returning masterclass and serving superbly to set up a meeting with Russian Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic has won 25 consecutive Australian Open matches – just one shy of Andre Agassi's record – and the 35-year-old rated his demolition of De Minaur as his most impressive of the year.

He said: "Definitely the best tennis I've played this year, this tournament, so far this season. Best match. I'm really glad because obviously as the tournament progresses, the matches are going to get tougher. I'm really glad to manage to win the way I did.

"To feel really great in terms of mobility and movement of my leg, which is great news. So all in all, perfect match for me."

Djokovic did not feel any pain as he brushed De Minaur aside to move into his 13th Australian Open quarter-final and the last eight of a major for the 54th time. 

He added: "We take it day by day. We do a lot of things. It's been honestly exhausting to be involved in a lot of different treatments and machines and stuff that we do.

"At the same time it was necessary. It is necessary in order to get myself in a condition to play. So I'm really glad that my body has responded really well.

"Tonight I didn't feel any pain. I moved as well as I have the whole tournament. It means we are progressing in the right direction.

"Some days you feel good; some days maybe not as. So, as I said on the court, I do not want to celebrate too early because I don't know how the body's going to respond tomorrow and for the next match. What I felt tonight is fantastic."

Andrey Rublev suggested he had given up hope at 5-0 down in the deciding tie-break against Holger Rune.

Rublev prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 (11-9) in a three-and-a-half-hour thriller against the Dane on Monday to progress to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The Russian salvaged two match points to force a tie-break at the end of the fifth set, but found himself staring down the barrel of an exit from the season's first major as Rune cruised into a commanding lead.

Yet Rublev won nine of the next 11 points and, at the third attempt, sealed a remarkable victory when a shot that hit the net cord trickled just over.

"Yes, I was lucky," Rublev said in his post-match press conference.

"I started to think it's over, for sure. Somehow... I was able to start to play with much more focus."

Asked how he maintained his self-belief, Rublev quipped: "I was not believing."

"Beginning of the fifth set, I was completely frozen. Inside I was thinking that I cannot [win]. I cannot move. I cannot hit.

"I was thinking it's over. He's playing much better than me. He deserves to win. He's going for the shots. He's doing something that normally I am supposed to do if I want to win the match.

"I let it go. Somehow the stress that I had, I was able to relieve it. At the end of the match I played much better than during the rest of the match."

During his on-court interview, Rublev said: "I was never able to win matches like this, this is the first time I've won something like this.

"At a very special tournament, to be in a quarter-final, it's something I'll remember all my life. I'm shaking!"

Rublev has qualified for his second Australian Open quarter-final, and his seventh at a grand slam. However, he has lost all of those matches.

The world number six, seeded fifth in Melbourne, has won three successive matches that have gone the distance, a career-first. Now, he will meet nine-time champion Novak Djokovic, who defeated Alex de Minaur in straight sets.

"I don't know," Rublev replied when asked if Djokovic was unbeatable. 

"Novak is very tough player to beat, especially in the slams.

"He has the best experience to win these matches. He's one of the best in history. The only chance I have is if I play my best tennis, just fight for every ball, and that's it. That's the only chance."

Nick Kyrgios is ready to do "everything I can do get back to my best" after undergoing knee surgery.

Last year's Wimbledon runner-up was left "devastated" when he had to withdraw from the Australian Open.

Kyrgios was ruled out of his home grand slam after an MRI scan on his knee revealed a cyst as a result of a small lateral meniscus tear.

The world number 21 on Monday revealed he had gone under the knife and is looking forward to starting out on the road to recovery.

He posted on Instagram: "Surgery complete. I'll be doing everything I can do get back to my best. To the real ones checking in and sending the vibes…. I love you."

Kyrgios won the seventh ATP Tour singles title of his career in Washington last August and claimed the Australian Open men's doubles title with Thanasi Kokkinakis in his homeland 12 months ago.

The 27-year-old was beaten by Novak Djokovic in his maiden major singles final at the All England Club last July.

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