ATP Australian Open: Novak Djokovic edges Alexander Zverev to reach semis



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ATP Australian Open: Novak Djokovic edges Alexander Zverev to reach semis

Novak Djokovic is through to his ninth Australian Open semi-final, beating Alexander Zverev 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 in three and a half hours. The German gave his best to stay in touch, opening an early lead in three sets and wasting a set point in the closing stages of the fourth to propel Djokovic through.

Alexander won five points more than Novak in the opener, hitting 15 winners and 11 unforced errors and staying focused in the tie break's closing stages for 7-6. Djokovic hit a double fault in the opening game to suffer a break, with Zverev holding at love for a 2-0 advantage.

Novak fended off a break point in game five and held after service winner to remain within one break deficit. Alexander served well in games six and eight to control the scoreboard and wasted a set point on the return in game nine when Novak forced an error.

The German served for the set and got broken a few minutes later following a backhand mistake, allowing Novak to level the score at 5-5. Alexander claimed an extended point at 6-6 in the tie break and sealed the opener with a service winner after an hour.

Novak took charge in set number two, firing ten winners and two unforced errors and dropping only a couple of points behind the initial shot. Zverev couldn't follow that pace, spraying a backhand mistake in the opening game and finding himself 3-0 down when Djokovic painted a backhand down the line winner in game three.

The Serb served well in the rest of the set and wrapped it up with an ace at 5-2 after 28 minutes. With momentum on his side, Djokovic won five points more in set number three and grabbed two breaks to move a set away from the finish line.

Zverev was off to a better start, taking 13 of the opening 16 points for a 3-0 advantage. Djokovic lost serve in the second game following a double fault and wasted a break chance in game five when Zverev landed a forehand winner that kept him in front.

Novak Djokovic defeated Alexander Zverev in three and a half hours.

Novak smashed his racquet at the end of that game and started to play better, taking 20 of the last 26 points to rattle off five straight games and turn the tables around.

Alexander hit a double fault in the seventh game to lost serve and fell behind after netting a backhand in game nine. Novak held at 15 in game ten to secure the set, unleashing a massive roar towards his box and moving a set away from the victory.

Like in the previous one, the German opened a 3-0 advantage in set number four before Novak pulled the break back to stay in contention. The Serb saved two break points at 3-5 before Zverev held at love for a 5-4 advantage.

Djokovic survived the tenth game with an ace and sent the pressure to the other side of the net. Alexander hit a service winner with no signs of nerve to close the 11th game at love and created a set point in the next one with a backhand down the line winner.

Novak stayed calm and erased it with an ace, holding when Zverev netted a forehand to bring a tie break. They hit winners in the opening five points before Alexander moved 5-4 up with an ace down the T line. Novak won the next two points on serve for a match point, denied by Zverev, who leveled the score at 6-6 for more drama. Djokovic scored a mini-break in the 13th point and sealed the deal with an ace for his ninth Australian Open semi-final.