Paul wins all-USA quarterfinal, Djokovic edges Rublev
TOMMY Paul edged Ben Shelton in an all-American quarterfinal at the 2023 Australian Open yesterday in Melbourne. Novak Djokovic, Aryna Sabalenka and Magda Linette also advanced to the semifinals on Day 10.
Paul totaled seven aces, fired 43 winners, totaled 26 unforced errors and converted 3 of 15 break points in the 7-6(6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 triumph at Rod Laver Arena. He will meet Djokovic in the semifinals, with the winner earning a ticket to the final.
“It’s going to be a challenging match, but I’m playing some of my best tennis so it will be a good time,” Paul told reporters, when asked about Djokovic.
Paul is the first American man to reach the Australian Open semifinals since Andy Roddick in 2009. He is the second American man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since 2018.
Shelton totaled 24 aces, 42 winners, logged 50 unforced errors and converted 2 of 4 break points in the three-hour, six-minute match.
“I definitely exceeded my expectations this week, not just tennis wise, but physically,” Shelton said. “I was pretty pleased with myself.”
Paul, Shelton and Sebastian Korda were the first three American men to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals in more than 20 years. Korda retired from his Day 9 quarterfinal due to injury.
Djokovic, the No. 4 seed, beat No. 5 Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. The Serbian totaled 14 aces, 32 winners and converted 5 of 14 break points. Rublev totaled six aces, 26 winners and converted none of his five break-point attempts.
No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and No. 18 Karen Khachanov of Russia, who advanced on Day 9, will meet in the other men’s semifinal.
On the women’s side, Sabalenka and Linette each advanced in straight sets. Sabalenka, the No. 5 seed, beat Donn Vekic of Croatia 6-3, 6-2. The Russian totaled nine aces, 38 winners and converted 5 of 13 break points in the one-hour, 49-minute match.
Linette, of Poland, beat No, 30 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5. She will face Sabalenka for a ticket to the women’s singles final.
No. 24 Viktoria Azarenka of Belarus will battle No. 22 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the other women’s semifinal. Rybakina and Azarenka advanced on Day 9 with straight-sets quarterfinal victories.
Women’s semifinal coverage will start at 3:30 a.m. EST Thursday on ESPN and ESPN+. The men’s semifinals will start tonight at 10:30 p.m.
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