Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner can join Novak Djokovic as members of a new 'Big Three' in men's tennis over the coming years, before taking up the Serbian's mantle when he retires.

That is the view of four-time grand slam semi-finalist Tommy Haas, who believes Sinner's sheer power will help him build on the Australian Open title he captured last month.

Sinner recovered from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling Australian Open final in January, claiming his first grand slam title at the age of 22.

The Italian's triumph made him the third-youngest man to win the event since it moved to Melbourne Park in 1988, older only than Djokovic in 2008 and Jim Courrier in 1992.

That breakout victory led to suggestions that Sinner could join Alcaraz in becoming a regular challenger to Djokovic, who has largely dominated men's tennis in recent years, with Roger Federer retiring in 2022 and Rafael Nadal beset by injury problems.  

While Haas believes Alcaraz is currently a more rounded player than Sinner, he feels the Italian has every chance of adding to his first major crown in the coming years.

"Maybe with Al, it's a bit more of an all-round game, but I think Sinner is going to continue to work on his," Haas told Stats Perform. 

"He's already done a great job on movement, on defence. Maybe he doesn't actually need to learn to get to the net and finish more, but I'm sure he's going to try because of his powerful groundstrokes.

"If he keeps playing like he does, it's just so powerful. You're going to be reacting pretty much all the time against him.

"He's going to try to improve his serve, he's going to try to improve physically. If he stays healthy, if Alcaraz stays healthy, these two are going to be the ones playing for a lot of the big titles."

However, Haas also thinks there are other contenders capable of pushing for major honours, adding: "Then you have Holger Rune, you have these other young players coming up.

"He now has to step it up a little bit. I think there's been lots going on with his team, with lots of chefs in the kitchen, but he's got the right mindset, he's got the will, he's got the potential.

"You have [Alexander] Zverev, who obviously still believes he can and should win a slam, so there's a lot of nice contrast there. 

"Medvedev, on hardcourts you can never count him out, and he's only 27. I think there is still potential for those guys to keep doing well.

"[Andrey] Rublev, I feel like he's getting better on defence as well. He pounds the ball like no other. So if he gets a little bit tougher mentally, don't count him out. There's a lot of good storylines there."

Marathon man Daniil Medvedev hopes experience can be his trump card against Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open final.

Sinner is through to his first grand-slam showpiece after stunning Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals while this will be a sixth shot at a major trophy for Medvedev.

The Russian won his only title at the US Open in 2021, losing twice more in New York and twice here, in 2021 and 2022, with all his finals so far pitting him against either Djokovic or Rafael Nadal.

In Melbourne two years ago, Medvedev led Nadal by two sets to love only to lose in five, but that has been his trick this year, with the third seed coming from two sets down to beat Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round and Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals.

He also played a five-setter against Hubert Hurkacz in the last eight and has spent more than 20 hours on court in his six matches, nearly six hours longer than Sinner, whose only dropped set came against Djokovic.

The Italian has carried his superb form from the end of last season into 2024 but a first slam final always presents its own challenges, and Medvedev said: “I hope it gives (me an advantage), because I hope to have some advantage.

“Physical advantage I probably don’t have. Tennis advantage, let’s see. But three last times he got me. So I hope that this experience can help me.

“First final, I think it’s always different for everyone. I’m sure some guys went out in the first final and felt so good they just managed to win it. Some would go and it would be tough mentally and they would lose.

“I have no idea how Jannik is going to be, but I have this experience. I will try my best. I will fight for my life, and let’s see who wins.”

Medvedev is one of the quirkiest characters on tour and he has had a love-hate relationship with crowds around the world, but a personal vow to behave better on court seems to be paying dividends.

“Mentally 100 per cent I’m stronger than I was before this tournament because now I know that I’m capable of some things maybe I thought I’m not, because before I didn’t do anything like this to get to the final,” said the 27-year-old.

His long-time coach Gilles Cervara, who has been known to walk out of matches over his charge’s behaviour, has seen it all.

“I know that, no matter what, he’s searching for a solution all the time,” said Cervara. “Also he wants to win so much. So both of these parts makes me feel that he still has a chance in any situation.

“Sometimes when I ask him some questions about his game on court, about what he put his concentration into or, when he misses, what he could do, and the answer he gives me makes me feel like, ‘Wow, I’m talking to the number three in the world, he was number one, he won a grand slam, and I have the feeling that I’m talking to a teenager’.”

This will be a 10th meeting between Medvedev and Sinner, with the Russian winning the first six but then losing three times in a row late last season, when Sinner won titles in Beijing and Vienna, reached the final of the ATP Finals and led Italy to the Davis Cup.

Hailing from the north of the country, the 22-year-old was a champion skier as a child before committing to tennis.

His huge groundstrokes marked him out as a special talent but it is since switching to the coaching team of Simone Vagnozzi and renowned Australian Darren Cahill in 2022 that he has climbed to the top of the game.

Cahill, who has previously worked with the likes of Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Simona Halep, said of Sinner: “He’s got the qualities I believe that a lot of the great champions in the game have, but you’ve got to start winning to let that come to fruition.

“So he’s making little steps. He had a good finish to the year last year. He gained a lot of belief from what he was able to do.”

Novak Djokovic branded his defeat by Jannik Sinner to end his long unbeaten Australian Open run as one of the worst performances of his career.

The world number one’s 6-1 6-2 6-7 (6) 6-3 loss in the semi-finals was his first at Melbourne Park since a fourth-round defeat by Chung Hyeon in 2018, ending a 33-match streak taking in four titles.

Djokovic made 54 unforced errors, dropped serve five times and, for the first time in a completed grand slam match, did not create a single break point.

“First I want to congratulate Sinner for playing a great match, great tournament so far,” said the Serbian, who had been chasing a record 25th slam title and 11th here.

“He’s deservedly in the finals. He outplayed me completely today. I was, in a way, shocked with my level, in a bad way. There was not much I was doing right in the first two sets.

“I guess this is one of the worst grand slam matches I’ve ever played. At least that I remember. Not a very pleasant feeling playing this way.”

Sinner was seen as the most likely rival to stop Djokovic ahead of the tournament after beating him twice in two weeks at the end of last season at the ATP Finals and Davis Cup.

The 22-year-old moves through to a first grand slam final, becoming the first Italian to reach a singles decider here, and he regrouped impressively after missing a match point in the third-set tie-break.

“It was a tough match, especially when I lost the third set with match points,” said Sinner. “I just tried to stay as positive as possible, and it went my way today. I’m really happy.”

Djokovic struggled with illness at the start of the fortnight and had a tougher passage through to the last four than usual, losing three sets along the way.

But he is a master at pacing himself in best-of-five-sets tennis and finding his best when it matters so it was a shock to see him so off colour in the first two sets especially.

“The whole tournament I haven’t really played close to my best,” said Djokovic. “In a way it did surprise me, because I thought it won’t be that bad in the first two sets.

“But, on the other hand, I didn’t feel really myself on the court during this tournament. One can say semi-finals is a great result, of course, but I always expect the highest of myself.”

There is no doubt the hierarchy in men’s tennis is finally changing, with Sinner, who had not dropped a set prior to this match, now following up Carlos Alcaraz’s Wimbledon final victory over Djokovic with his own grand slam breakthrough.

The Italian is a much more understated character than his fellow young gun but he projects a quiet confidence that has grown noticeably in the last six months.

“I think you win the matches not only on that day,” he said. “You win it because you feel prepared for a good fight. You feel prepared mentally and also physically.

“I think after last year, especially the end of the year, it gave me confidence that I could potentially do some good results in grand slams. But you still have to show it. There are people who talk a lot, but you have to show it.

“But, if it’s not this year, it’s next year, and then if it’s not next year, it’s the next year again. I’m really relaxed. I just try to work as hard as possible and in my mind I feel like the hard work always pays off in one way, and we are working really hard for our dreams.

“Obviously I’m really happy about Carlos, what he has made and what he is doing. When we play it’s always a good match-up, but at the moment we also have to say that he is further than I am.”

Djokovic will turn 37 in May and, while no one will be writing him off, there is no doubt this is a big blow, with the Serbian having won the title on all 10 previous occasions on which he had reached the last four in Melbourne.

It also emphasises his incredible record here, with Djokovic saying: “I’m kind of hot-headed right now. After the match it’s very difficult to reflect on things in a more profound way.

“Maybe tomorrow, maybe in a few days’ time, but I definitely have a lot to be very proud of in terms of what I have achieved here. The streak was going to end one day.

“This has been a very special city, best, by far, grand slam of my career. I just hope that I’ll get a chance to come back, to play at least another time and go through the emotions once more.

“I still have high hopes for other slams, Olympics, and whatever tournaments that I’ll play. It’s just the beginning of the season.”

Jannik Sinner announced himself as a grand slam force in stunning fashion by becoming the first player in six years to defeat Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

The 22-year-old Italian was seen as the most likely rival to stop Djokovic claiming an 11th title in Melbourne ahead of the tournament after beating him twice in two weeks at the end of last season at the ATP Finals and Davis Cup.

But surely no one would have predicted the manner of the first two sets of this semi-final, with an error-strewn Djokovic winning just three games.

He saved a match point in the third-set tie-break to give himself hope but there was no dramatic comeback, with Sinner regrouping impressively and going on to clinch a 6-1 6-2 6-7 (6) 6-3 victory after three hours and 22 minutes.

The fourth seed moves through to a first grand slam final while Djokovic, who had not lost here since a fourth-round defeat by Hyeon Chung amid elbow problems in 2018, must lick his wounds, with a record 25th slam title proving beyond him for now.

The result was, of course, a shock given Djokovic’s incredible record here – this is the first time he has ever lost having made it beyond the quarter-finals – but it was the Serbian’s display that was the most surprising.

He committed 54 unforced errors and did not even make Sinner use his haymaker groundstrokes that often, the Italian instead able to maintain a very high but comfortable level and not facing a single break point.

Djokovic struggled with illness at the start of the fortnight and had a tougher passage through to the last four than usual, losing three sets along the way.

Sinner, the first Italian to make an Australian Open singles final, had not dropped a set all tournament, and he started as he meant to go on, breaking the Djokovic serve to lead 2-0 with a searing forehand followed by a drive volley winner.

By contrast, nothing was working for Djokovic, with routine shots landing in the net or out of court, while he was also struggling on serve.

Sinner broke again to lead 5-1 and wrapped up the first set with just over half an hour gone.

Djokovic is a master at pacing himself in best-of-five-sets tennis and he would certainly not have panicked having lost only two of the last 17 slam matches in which he dropped the first set.

But the pattern of the match continued in the same vein, with more Djokovic errors helping Sinner break for 2-1 in the second set.

Djokovic whipped up crowd support after saving a break point at 2-4 in fine style but Sinner broke anyway two points later and served out the set.

Two years ago at Wimbledon, Sinner led Djokovic by two sets to love only to lose in five, so he knew very well that the match was far from over.

Djokovic, who had barely showed any emotion, clenched his fist after saving a break point in the opening game of the third set, and he at least managed to serve better.

At 5-5 and deuce on the Serbian’s serve, a medical emergency in the crowd forced a delay for several minutes, but Djokovic held his nerve on the resumption.

The world number one knew it was now or never in the tie-break, and he opened up a 4-2 lead, but Sinner surged back, creating a match point at 6-5 but netting a forehand, and a backhand over the baseline two points later gave Djokovic a lifeline.

He was still hanging on, though, saving three break points in the second game of the fourth set only to then be broken from 40-0 two games later.

Djokovic forced Sinner to serve it out but the Italian did not waver, clinching the biggest win of his life with a forehand winner.

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka will take on first-time grand slam finalist Zheng Qinwen for the Australian Open crown on Saturday.

Sabalenka reversed the result of the US Open final, beating Coco Gauff 7-6 (2) 6-4, while 12th seed Zheng ended the run of qualifier Dayana Yastremska with a 6-4 6-4 victory.

Britain’s Alfie Hewett is one win away from defending his wheelchair title and will again face Japanese teenager Tokito Oda for the trophy.

Picture of the dayStat of the dayPoint of the dayLegacyWho’s up next?

The men take centre stage on Friday, with Novak Djokovic putting his 33-match unbeaten run at Melbourne Park on the line in a semi-final clash against fourth seed Jannik Sinner.

In the night session, familiar foes Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev will do battle for a place in the final.

Britain’s Neal Skupski goes for a fourth grand slam title alongside American Desirae Krawczyk in the mixed doubles final, with the pair taking on Hsieh Su-wei and Jan Zielinski.

Novak Djokovic puts his 33-match unbeaten Australian Open run to the test against Jannik Sinner on Rod Laver Arena on Friday.

The world number one has not been beaten at Melbourne Park since a fourth-round loss to Chung Hyeon back in 2018, with only two opponents in the intervening six years managing to push him to five sets.

Djokovic appears to have recovered from the illness that was troubling him at the start of the fortnight, but was tested in a four-set quarter-final win over Taylor Fritz and, if anyone is going to end his streak, Sinner appears a prime candidate.

The 22-year-old beat Djokovic twice in successive weeks at the end of last season at the ATP Finals and Davis Cup, where he led Italy to the title, and is the only player in the men’s draw yet to drop a set.

“This is what I practise for, to play against the best players in the world,” said Sinner. “Obviously he has an incredible record here, so for me it’s a pleasure to play against him, especially in the final stages of the tournament where things are a little bit more interesting.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be tough. This, I know. I will control the controllable, which is giving 100 per cent, having the right attitude, fighting for every ball. And then we see the outcome. More than this, I cannot do. It doesn’t really matter who my opponent is.”

Sinner reached his first slam semi-final at Wimbledon last summer but lost in straight sets to Djokovic, who is tantalisingly close to a record-breaking 25th major title.

This has not been one of his more straightforward paths through the draw in Melbourne, but his desire to continue racking up the biggest titles remains unquestionable.

“I’m aware of the streak that I’m on and the amount of matches that I have won in my career on the Rod Laver Arena,” said Djokovic.

“I don’t want to let that go. The longer the streak goes, the more that kind of confidence, also expectations, build, but also the willingness to really walk the extra mile.”

The second semi-final pits two very familiar opponents against each other in the shape of third seed Daniil Medvedev and sixth seed Alexander Zverev.

Medvedev is bidding to reach his third final at Melbourne Park in the last four years while Zverev crashed the top-four party by defeating Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday for his best victory at a slam.

Medvedev and Zverev, who are certainly not the best of friends, have played each other 18 times previously but strangely never at a slam.

Russian Medvedev leads the head-to-head 11-7 having won five of the six matches they played last season, but Zverev took time to get back to his best after a serious ankle injury.

“A lot of matches were extremely close,” said the German, who lost his only grand slam final at the US Open in 2020.

“A lot of the times it came down to him being extremely confident last year, him playing some of the best tennis of his life, and me coming back from injury and not having the confidence in deciding moments and not being able to finish matches.

“He’s obviously extremely difficult to play. No question about it. He’s one of the best players in the world right now. But I’m happy in the position I am, and I’m going to do everything I can to win that match on Friday.”

Carlos Alcaraz became the biggest casualty of the men’s draw so far at the Australian Open.

The second seed was beaten in four sets by Alexander Zverev, who will take on Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals following his five-set victory over Hubert Hurkacz.

Qualifier Dayana Yastremska made it through to the last four in the women’s draw, where she will play another first-timer in 12th seed Zheng Qinwen.

Picture of the dayPoint of the dayLongevityHewitt honoured

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame.

Fallen seeds

Women: None
Men: Carlos Alcaraz (2), Hubert Hurkacz (9)

Who’s up next?

It is women’s semi-finals day on Thursday, with both matches taking place in the night session.

First up is a rematch of the US Open final, with defending champion Aryna Sabalenka hoping to turn the tables on Coco Gauff, before Yastremska plays Zheng.

British wheelchair stars Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid are in singles and doubles semi-final action, while Mingge Xu plays her girls’ singles quarter-final against Iva Ivanova.

Nick Kyrgios says the prospect of life after tennis now “excites” him as he takes to the commentator’s box for the Australian Open.

The Australian former world number 11 has taken time off from the professional circuit due to injury, filling in his time by working at the grand slam for Eurosport.

He wrote on Wednesday in Australian newspaper The Age that he is now seriously considering retirement.

“I’m at a crossroads in my career and have reached a point where life after tennis is a prospect that excites me,” he wrote.

His words come hours after he conducted his first on-court interview of the Australian Open on Tuesday night, speaking to 24-time grand slam winner Novak Djokovic.

But, despite enjoying his time in the commentator’s box, the 28-year-old says he still feels the urge to play.

“Over the past week being at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open, I’ve been happy,” he said.

“Of course, there’s a part of me watching on that would love nothing more than to be out there.

“I know I can be one of the best in the world and win major tournaments – if my body lets me.

“The fire still burns, but it’s not my everything.”

Kyrgios attempted a comeback in June. However, his return only lasted one match thanks to continuing knee and wrist injuries.

Kyrgios said a return to the professional circuit has not been totally ruled out, but he stressed he will not put his name forward to represent Australia at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Novak Djokovic suffered in the heat at the Australian Open but made it past Taylor Fritz and into the semi-finals.

There he will face Jannik Sinner, who finished his straight-sets victory over Andrey Rublev at 1.22am after long matches in the day session.

There will be a rematch of the US Open final in the women’s semi-finals, where defending champion Aryna Sabalenka will face Coco Gauff.

Picture of the dayStat of the dayBromanceMum’s the word

Gauff was not too impressed with mum Candi’s moment in the spotlight, saying: “I saw the video of her celebrating. I was, like, ‘it wasn’t that hard of a ball to catch. You know, celebrate your little wins’.

Fallen seeds

Women: Barbora Krejcikova (9)

Men: Andrey Rublev (5), Taylor Fritz (12)

Who’s up next?

The quarter-finals conclude on Wednesday, when Carlos Alcaraz’s battle with Alexander Zverev takes centre stage in the night session.

The winner will face either third seed Daniil Medvedev or ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz, while China’s Zheng Qinwen is the only seed left in the top half of the women’s draw and plays Anna Kalinskaya.

Czech teenager Linda Noskova, who beat Iga Swiatek in the third round, faces qualifier Dayana Yastremska in the opening match of the day.

Australian Open organisers faced criticism over scheduling after a long quarter-final between Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz delayed the night session by more than two hours.

Djokovic battled past his American opponent 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-2 6-3 after three hours and 45 minutes, with the match starting later than expected because of Coco Gauff’s lengthy clash with Marta Kostyuk in the opening match of the day on Rod Laver Arena.

Extending the tournament to 15 days this year and scheduling only two matches in each day session was meant to avoid the sort of early-morning finishes that have become increasingly common.

But there have only been two days out of 10 so far where play has finished by midnight, and Daniil Medvedev and Emil Ruusuvuori played until 3.39am in their second-round clash.

Tuesday’s delay meant women’s defending champion Aryna Sabalenka did not start her match, which had been due to begin at 7pm, until 9.10pm, and Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev were not hitting their first balls until after 10.40pm.

Discussions took place about potentially moving one of the night session matches to a different court, but that ultimately did not happen.

Fritz said: “It just screws up your whole clock. I pray for those guys. I get it, matches go long some days. Like, today in particular, my match was long, the match before us was really long.

“But there’s got to be something they can do where people aren’t playing until 2, 3am, because I don’t think people really fully understand how much time we actually have to spend doing stuff after we finish playing. If you finish at 2am, there is no chance I’m going to sleep until 5, 6am.”

Wimbledon is unique in having an 11pm curfew, but play at the other grand slams has no cut-off point, and, with the average length of matches increasing markedly in recent years, what was rare in now commonplace.

Djokovic said: “We’ve seen in the past some late finishes. And I know for the crowds and for the tournament in a way it’s kind of exciting to see a 4am finish, a 3am finish. I was part of some of those. But it’s definitely not fun for us.

“The good thing about the quarter-finalist on the men’s section is we have two days. So I think that’s plenty of time to get a good sleep and recover.”

Djokovic will also need time to recover after battling past Fritz and into the semi-finals in Melbourne for the 11th time.

The world number one has never lost here once he has made it beyond the last eight, and there is no doubt how much he wants a 25th grand slam title.

Djokovic had beaten American Fritz in all eight of their previous meetings but this was certainly not straightforward. The first game alone lasted 16 minutes and the first set 84 minutes as they toiled in the heat.

Fritz, looking to reach a slam semi-final for the first time at the third attempt, remarkably saved all 15 break points he faced in the opening two sets, and he impressively levelled the contest.

It was just the third set he had won against the Serbian, with the other two both coming in a third-round clash here in 2021, when Djokovic suffered an abdominal injury but still managed to win in five.

But Djokovic began to turn the screw in the third set as Fritz started to feel his left foot, and successive breaks in the fourth set him on the way to a record-extending 48th slam semi-final.

Speaking to Nick Kyrgios on court, Djokovic said: “I suffered a lot in the first couple of sets. Also due to his high quality tennis. He was really kind of suffocating me from the back of the court.

“It was really difficult to find the right timing, it was really hot while the sun was still out. We all know Taylor has got one of the best serves in the world. I knew the kind of a threat he poses when he serves on such a high quality.

“Conversion of the break points was really poor but I managed to break him when it mattered. I think I upped my game midway through the third set all the way through to the end.”

Fritz was left with mixed feelings, saying: “I played a really high level for the first two sets, and they were a physical, tough two sets. It was like two and a half hours by the time we finished the two sets. I need to get to the point where I can do that for five hours.”

Australian Open organisers faced criticism over scheduling after a long quarter-final between Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz delayed the night session by more than two hours.

Djokovic battled past his American opponent 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-2 6-3 after three hours and 45 minutes, with the match starting later than expected because of Coco Gauff’s lengthy clash with Marta Kostyuk in the opening match of the day on Rod Laver Arena.

Extending the tournament to 15 days this year and scheduling only two matches in each day session was meant to avoid the sort of early-morning finishes that have become increasingly common.

But there have only been two days out of 10 so far where play has finished by midnight, and Daniil Medvedev and Emil Ruusuvuori played until 3.39am in their second-round clash.

Tuesday’s delay meant women’s defending champion Aryna Sabalenka did not start her match, which had been due to begin at 7pm, until 9.10pm, and Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev were not hitting their first balls until after 10.40pm.

Discussions took place about potentially moving one of the night session matches to a different court, but that ultimately did not happen.

Fritz said: “It just screws up your whole clock. I pray for those guys. I get it, matches go long some days. Like, today in particular, my match was long, the match before us was really long.

“But there’s got to be something they can do where people aren’t playing until 2, 3am, because I don’t think people really fully understand how much time we actually have to spend doing stuff after we finish playing. If you finish at 2am, there is no chance I’m going to sleep until 5, 6am.”

Wimbledon is unique in having an 11pm curfew, but play at the other grand slams has no cut-off point, and, with the average length of matches increasing markedly in recent years, what was rare in now commonplace.

Djokovic said: “We’ve seen in the past some late finishes. And I know for the crowds and for the tournament in a way it’s kind of exciting to see a 4am finish, a 3am finish. I was part of some of those. But it’s definitely not fun for us.

“The good thing about the quarter-finalist on the men’s section is we have two days. So I think that’s plenty of time to get a good sleep and recover.”

Djokovic will also need time to recover after battling past Fritz and into the semi-finals in Melbourne for the 11th time.

The world number one has never lost here once he has made it beyond the last eight, and there is no doubt how much he wants a 25th grand slam title.

Djokovic had beaten American Fritz in all eight of their previous meetings but this was certainly not straightforward. The first game alone lasted 16 minutes and the first set 84 minutes as they toiled in the heat.

Fritz, looking to reach a slam semi-final for the first time at the third attempt, remarkably saved all 15 break points he faced in the opening two sets, and he impressively levelled the contest.

It was just the third set he had won against the Serbian, with the other two both coming in a third-round clash here in 2021, when Djokovic suffered an abdominal injury but still managed to win in five.

But Djokovic began to turn the screw in the third set as Fritz started to feel his left foot, and successive breaks in the fourth set him on the way to a record-extending 48th slam semi-final.

Speaking to Nick Kyrgios on court, Djokovic said: “I suffered a lot in the first couple of sets. Also due to his high quality tennis. He was really kind of suffocating me from the back of the court.

“It was really difficult to find the right timing, it was really hot while the sun was still out. We all know Taylor has got one of the best serves in the world. I knew the kind of a threat he poses when he serves on such a high quality.

“Conversion of the break points was really poor but I managed to break him when it mattered. I think I upped my game midway through the third set all the way through to the end.”

Fritz was left with mixed feelings, saying: “I played a really high level for the first two sets, and they were a physical, tough two sets. It was like two and a half hours by the time we finished the two sets. I need to get to the point where I can do that for five hours.”

Novak Djokovic fought off a strong challenge from Taylor Fritz to reach the Australian Open semi-finals for the 11th time.

The world number one has never lost in Melbourne once he has made it beyond the last eight, and there is no doubt how much he wants a 25th grand-slam title.

Djokovic had beaten American Fritz in all eight of their previous meetings but this was certainly not straightforward, with the top seed finally securing a 7-6 (3) 4-6 6-2 6-3 victory after three hours and 45 minutes.

The first game alone lasted 16 minutes and the first set 84 minutes as they toiled in the heat on Rod Laver Arena.

Fritz, looking to reach a slam semi-final for the first time at the third attempt, remarkably saved all 15 break points he faced in the opening two sets, and he impressively levelled the contest.

It was just the third set he had won against the Serbian, with the other two both coming in a third-round clash here in 2021, when Djokovic suffered an abdominal injury but still managed to win in five.

But Djokovic began to turn the screw in the third set as Fritz started to feel his left foot, and successive breaks in the fourth set him on the way to a record-extending 48th slam semi-final.

Speaking to Nick Kyrgios on court, Djokovic said: “I suffered a lot in the first couple of sets. Also due to his high quality tennis. He was really kind of suffocating me from the back of the court.

“It was really difficult to find the right timing, it was really hot while the sun was still out. We all know Taylor has got one of the best serves in the world. I knew the kind of a threat he poses when he serves on such a high quality.

“Conversion of the break points was really poor but I managed to break him when it mattered. I think I upped my game midway through the third set all the way through to the end.”

Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka cruised into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Djokovic was on course for a ‘triple bagel’ against Adrian Mannarino before eventually winning 6-0 6-0 6-3 while Sabalenka was a 6-3 6-2 winner over Amanda Anisimova.

Sabalenka appears very likely to face Coco Gauff in the semi-finals, while Australian hopes were ended when Andrey Rublev defeated Alex De Minaur in five sets.

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Cruz Hewitt, the 15-year-old son of former world number one Lleyton, was beaten on his junior grand slam debut. But 16-year-old Jagger Leach, whose mother is three-time major champion Lindsay Davenport, did make it through to round two.

Murray magic

 

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Fallen seeds

Women: None
Men: Stefanos Tsitsipas (7), Karen Khachanov (15), Adrian Mannarino (20)

Who’s up next?

 

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Cameron Norrie will bid for a first victory over a top-10 player at a grand slam when he takes on sixth seed Alexander Zverev on Margaret Court Arena on Monday.

The winner will face either second seed Carlos Alcaraz or Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, who meet in the night session, while third seed Daniil Medvedev plays Portugal’s Nuno Borges.

After beating Iga Swiatek, teenager Linda Noskova plays Elina Svitolina, and 12th seed Zheng Qinwen plays two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka.

Novak Djokovic equalled Roger Federer’s record by reaching a 58th grand slam quarter-final in style at the Australian Open.

It appeared the world number one might do so by becoming the first player to claim a ‘triple bagel’ victory at the tournament when he won the first 13 games against Adrian Mannarino.

The Frenchman looked hugely relieved when he finally got on the board in the second game of the third set but Djokovic, playing in his 73rd major tournament, eased to a 6-0 6-0 6-3 victory.

Having started the tournament battling illness and surviving two long matches, Djokovic is now looking in ominous form, although he still became riled by the crowd at times.

“The best sets I’ve played in a while,” the Serbian said afterwards. “I really wanted to lose that game in the third set because the tension was building up so much in the stadium. I needed to get that out of the way and refocus on what I needed to do to finish the match.

“I served very well. In the moments when I needed to come up with the first serve, I did. All in all, great performance.

“The last couple of days has been really good so it’s going in a positive direction health wise, tennis wise, so I’m really happy.”

Novak Djokovic avoided his struggles of the first two rounds in a straight-sets win over Tomas Martin Etcheverry at the Australian Open on Friday.

His fellow defending champion, Aryna Sabalenka, routed Lesia Tsurenko 6-0 6-0 while 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva recovered from 5-1 down in the deciding set to beat Diane Parry.

It was generally a good day for the big names, with Coco Gauff, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas also winning.

Picture of the dayTweet of the dayRod back in his houseOutfit of the dayFallen seeds

Women: Beatriz Haddad Maia (10), Lesia Tsurenko (28)

Men: Ben Shelton (16), Sebastian Baez (26), Sebastian Korda (29), Tomas Martin Etcheverry (30)

Who’s up next?

 

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Britain’s final singles hope, Cameron Norrie, takes on Casper Ruud for a place in the fourth round.

Chinese players take centre stage in the day on Rod Laver Arena, with Zheng Qinwen meeting Wang Yafan before Shang Juncheng faces Carlos Alcaraz.

Iga Swiatek is first up in the night session against Czech teenager Linda Noskova, while Daniil Medvedev meets Felix Auger-Aliassime.

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