Djokovic Triumphs in Grueling Battle, Sabalenka Soars with Ease

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In a riveting display of resilience, top seed Novak Djokovic secured his spot in the 11th Australian Open semi-final and a historic 48th at Grand Slams. Facing the 12th-seeded American Taylor Fritz, Djokovic overcame a taxing challenge with a 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory on Rod Laver Arena. The Serbian superstar, usually accustomed to the evening slot, navigated the scorching afternoon temperatures of 32 degrees Celsius, admitting to the physical and emotional toll of the three-hour and 45-minute epic.

Djokovic revealed, “I suffered a lot” in the initial sets, acknowledging Fritz’s formidable serves and strategic court presence. However, the 36-year-old elevated his game midway through the third set, setting the stage for a record-extending 48th Grand Slam semi-final appearance.

Looking ahead, Djokovic faces either Italian fourth seed Jannik Sinner or Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev, both challenged by the prospect of breaking Djokovic’s flawless streak of 10 previous semi-final victories at Melbourne Park.

On the women’s side, defending champion Aryna Sabalenka had a contrasting experience, breezing through her quarterfinal against ninth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova in just 71 minutes. The 6-2, 6-3 victory showcased Sabalenka’s dominance, breaking her opponent three times in each set with powerful groundstrokes.

Sabalenka, who has triumphed in all seven of her previous Grand Slam quarterfinals, expressed satisfaction with her performance, attributing it to the supportive atmosphere. She now sets the stage for a compelling clash with fourth seed Coco Gauff, setting the scene for a rematch of last year’s US Open final, which Gauff won in three sets.

In contrast to Sabalenka’s swift victory, Gauff faced a tough challenge against unseeded Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, enduring over three hours in a scrappy affair. Despite rating her own performance as a ‘C,’ Gauff aims to bounce back, acknowledging the hope to elevate her game in the upcoming clash with Sabalenka.

As the Australian Open unfolds, Djokovic’s tenacity and Sabalenka’s commanding form set the stage for thrilling semi-final matchups, promising fans more captivating moments on the blue hardcourts of Melbourne Park.

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