Australian Open: Novak Djokovic battles past Taylor Fritz

Novak Djokovic will compete in his 11th Australian Open semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
Australian Open: Novak Djokovic battles past Taylor Fritz
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic defeated Taylor Fritz 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the Australian Open quarter-final, remaining on the title course. Two rivals battled for nearly two and a half hours in the opening two sets before Djokovic took charge in the third and fourth, setting the semi-final clash against Jannik Sinner or Andrey Rublev.

Two rivals battled for 84 minutes in the opener, sending it down to the wire. Djokovic dominated with his first serve and fired 21 winners and 18 unforced errors. The Serb squandered eight break chances and fended off two set points on serve at 5-6 before taking the tie break for an early advantage.

The opening game lasted over 16 minutes, and Fritz worked hard to avoid an early setback. The American denied three break chances and held after the Serb's forehand error. Novak held at love in game two and launched another assault on the return at 1-1.

Taylor came from 40-0 down and saved three break points to remain on the positive side.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Daniel Pockett / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic beat Taylor Fritz for the ninth time from as many matches.

They served well in the upcoming games, and the younger player experienced more issues at 4-4.

The American saved two break points and held after the Serb's backhand error for a 5-4 lead. Novak served to stay in the set at 5-6 and faced the first problems behind the initial shot. The defending champion saved them with winners and forced the rival's mistake to introduce a tie break.

Djokovic raced into a 4-0 lead and created five set points with a cracking backhand crosscourt winner. Novak drew Taylor's mistake at 6-3, wrapping up the opener after 84 minutes. Fritz kept fighting, hitting 21 winners in the second set and playing better in the pivotal moments.

Taylor grabbed a break in the first game with a volley winner and denied a break point in the next one for a 2-0 advantage. The American faced the ultimate test in games six and eight, offering the Serb six break points. Taylor denied them with powerful tennis, hitting winners and keeping Novak at 0-15 at break chances since the start of the duel!

Fritz served for the set at 5-4 and fired an ace down the T line, wrapping it up 6-4 and leveling the overall score after two hours and 23 minutes. Novak took charge in the third set, dropping three points behind the initial shot and finally breaking Taylor's resistance on the return.

Djokovic seized his 16th break point in the second game, forging the lead and producing a fine hold in the next one for 3-0. The Serb maintained that pace on serve in games five and seven, moving 5-2 up and keeping the American under pressure.

Novak made a statement in the eighth game, breaking Taylor at love and wrapping up the set 6-2 for a massive boost.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Phil Walter / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Djokovic delivered three fine holds in the fourth set and missed a chance to move in front after Fritz denied two break points in game two.

Novak secured a break at 15 in game six after the rival's forehand mistake, opening a 4-2 gap and looking good to emerge at the top. However, Taylor pulled it back in game seven after a lucky bet cord winner, reducing the gap to 4-3.

Instead of building on that, Fritz lost serve at love in game eight after a double fault, allowing Djokovic to serve for the victory at 5-3.

Australian Open Novak Djokovic Taylor Fritz