Australain Open: Flawless Novak Djokovic storms over Andrey Rublev

Novak Djokovic is in great form ahead of the Australian Open closing stages

by Jovica Ilic
Australain Open: Flawless Novak Djokovic storms over Andrey Rublev

A nine-time champion Novak Djokovic is through to his tenth Australian Open semi-final. Novak produced another comfortable victory at Rod Laver Arena, toppling Andrey Rublev 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and three minutes. Djokovic will compete in his 44th Major semi-final, moving two behind Roger Federer.

Victory over Andrey is Novak's 26th in a row in Melbourne, matching Andre Agassi's record and hoping to pass him in the next round against Tommy Paul. Djokovic had the upper hand from start to finish, serving well and pressuring Rublev on the return.

Novak placed his returns to Andrey's backhand and pushed the rival's forehand to the limits in the exchanges. The Serb made the crucial difference in the shortest range up to four strokes thanks to his initial shot and the first groundstroke on serve and return.

Novak denied all five break points and stole the rival's serve five times to control the scoreboard and sail over the top.

Novak Djokovic is safely through into the Australian Open semi-final.

Novak hit 12 winners and unforced errors in the opening set and fended off two break points after already building a massive advantage.

He broke Andrey twice in a row for convincing 6-1 in 39 minutes. Rublev saved a break point in the encounter's second game to avoid an early setback. He opened a 40-15 lead in the fourth game before Djokovic climbed back and grabbed a break after the rival's double fault.

Novak fired an ace in game five to confirm the advantage and delivered another break at 4-1 after forcing Andrey's mistake. Djokovic served for the opener in game seven and faced two break points. The Serb denied them and wrapped up the set with a backhand winner for 6-1 and a massive boost.

Novak saved all three break points in the second set and broke Andrey twice to extend his run and move closer to the finish line. The Russian stayed in touch until 2-2, already doing more than in the opener. Djokovic forced Rublev's mistake in the fifth game to secure a break and move in front.

A nine-time champion survived two break points in the next one and secured another break at 4-2 following a double fault from his powerless opponent. Novak served for the set at 5-2 and struggled a bit. He failed to convert four set points and even faced a break point.

The Serb erased it and landed a service winner on his fifth set point to open a 6-1, 6-2 gap in an hour and 23 minutes. Rublev experienced another setback at the start of the third set, playing a terrible volley on Djokovic's third break point to fall further behind.

Novak held in game two with a service winner and created another break chance in game three. Andrey saved it and brought the game home to avoid complete disaster. Djokovic claimed the fourth game with an ace and held in game six after a lucky net cord winner for 4-2.

Novak held at 15 in game eight to remain in front, forcing Andrey to serve to stay in the match. Rublev produced a fine hold to reduce the deficit and keep himself in contention. Djokovic served for the triumph at 5-4 and sealed the deal with a hold at love for a place in his tenth Australian Open semi-final.

Novak Djokovic Andrey Rublev Australian Open