#1 Djokovic Dominates Paul, Advances to Australian Open Final Against Tsitsipas

Djokovic’s ability to overcome obstacles on display in Australian Open semifinal match against Tommy Paul

Novak Djokovic’s ability to overcome any obstacle that stands in his way might be his most valuable talent. This was evident in his recent semifinal match against unseeded American Tommy Paul at the Australian Open on Friday. Despite potential distractions, a heavily taped left hamstring, and a slow start, Djokovic was able to take over the match and beat Paul 7-5, 6-1, 6-2. This win brings Novak closer to his 10th Australian Open championship and 22nd Grand Slam title overall.

Djokovic’s Australian Open winning streak reaches 27 matches, longest in Open era

Djokovic extended his Australian Open winning streak to 27 matches, the longest in the Open era, which dates to 1968. There was a pause in that string of victories a year ago, when Djokovic was deported from Australia before competition began because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. He still has not gotten the shots, but the strict border controls established by the country earlier in the pandemic have been eased.

Djokovic set to face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Australian Open final, chance for return to No. 1 ATP ranking

On Sunday, No. 4 seed Novak will take on No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who eliminated Karen Khachanov 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 to reach his first final at Melbourne Park and second at a Slam. Whoever wins the final will rise to No. 1 in the ATP rankings. For Djokovic, that would mark a return to a spot he has occupied for more weeks than anyone; for Tsitsipas, it would mark a debut there.

Djokovic’s record-breaking success at the Australian Open and potential for equal number of Grand Slam trophies as Rafael Nadal

Djokovic is now a perfect 19-0 in the last two rounds in Melbourne, and his nine triumphs there already is a men’s record. If he can add one more to go alongside his seven titles at Wimbledon, three at the US Open and two at the French Open, Novak would equal Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam trophies earned by a man.

Djokovic’s previous victory over Tsitsipas in French Open final brings humorous moment during press conference

Tsitsipas’ other major final came at the 2021 French Open, when he grabbed the first two sets before blowing that big lead and losing to Novak in five. Which was all related to an amusing moment this week, when Novak said about Tsitsipas: “He has never played a final, am I wrong?” Reminded by reporters about what happened at Roland Garros, Novak replied: “That’s right. Sorry, my bad.”

Djokovic’s semifinal opponent, Tommy Paul, unable to break through despite strong showing at Australian Open.

Until this week, 35th-ranked Paul never had been past the fourth round in 13 previous appearances at majors. The 25-year-old was born in New Jersey and grew up in North Carolina, playing tennis at a club where the walls were festooned with posters of Andy Roddick – the last American man to win a Grand Slam singles title, at the 2003 US Open. That drought will continue for now, because even though Djokovic was not at his best in the opening set, he was good enough at the end of it, breaking in the final game, and never relented.

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