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Jan 25, 2023 9:09 am

Tommy Paul beats Ben Shelton, Novak Djokovic next in Aussie semis

Tommy Paul defeated Ben Shelton in an all-American quarterfinal to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Paul, 25, moved past Shelton 7-6 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 and is the lone representative of the United States left standing. Three Americans reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2000.

“I like to think the last four years of my career has just been like steady steps moving up. I mean, that’s what it’s felt like,” Paul said. “I feel like hopefully 2023 is the year where I really make a big jump.”

Up next is No. 4 seed Novak Djokovic, who dominated No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

The 21-time Grand Slam winner appeared wholly unaffected by a left hamstring injury that limited him last week.

“I’ve tried about any bio feedback machine on this planet in order to get my leg ready. It worked and I’m going to keep going,” the Serbian star said. “I miss tennis on my days off, but it’s important to be smart and wise with the body in these particular circumstances where it’s more important to get ready for the next challenge.”

Seeking a 10th Australian Open title, Djokovic has won 11 consecutive sets in Melbourne. He last dropped a set in the second round.

“I could not be happier with my tennis. I’ve been playing very solid from the back of the court, I love playing in these conditions … this court, I’ve said it before, it’s the most special court for me,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic, 35, stands two match victories from his 22nd Grand Slam title, which would equal Rafael Nadal’s men’s record.

The winner will take on the either No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) or No. 18 Karen Khachanov (Russia), who meet in the other men’s singles semifinal on Friday.

–Field Level Media

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