Sinner powers past Rublev to set up Djokovic showdown


Italy's Jannik Sinner set up a mouth-watering Australian Open semi-final against Novak Djokovic as he fought off Andrey Rublev in a late-night duel at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

The fourth seed showed patience and resilience to claim a 6-4 7-6(5) 6-3 win against the Russian who now owns the ugly record of 10 defeats out of 10 in Grand Slam quarter-finals.

Sinner, who beat world number one Djokovic twice at the end of 2023, has reached the semi-finals without dropping a set.

Fifth seed Rublev, as he always does, threw the kitchen sink at his opponent but was left with the same old sinking feeling as he consistently failed to take his chances, especially when leading the second set tiebreak 5-1.

Sinner hit back in majestic fashion to reel off the six points in a row to establish a two-set lead and that proved pivotal as Rublev's resolve began to crumble.

The Russian wore a world-weary expression in the third set and dropped serve to hand Sinner a 4-2 lead and the clean-hitting Italian duly closed out a comfortable win at nearly 1:30 am local time to reach his first Australian Open semi-final.

The 22-year-old Sinner will take heart for his forthcoming battle with 10-time champion Djokovic on Friday, having beaten him at the ATP Finals and in the Davis Cup Finals in November.

"I'm really lucky to be facing the world number one in the semi-finals," Sinner, who lost to Djokovic at Wimbledon last year in his maiden Grand Slam semi-final, said on court.

"It's going to be tough but the only thing I can control is that I'll fight 100% for every ball and see what happens."

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