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Day 10 men's quarterfinal previews: Your five-point guide

  • Dan Imhoff

The first two men’s semifinalists of AO 2024 will be decided on Tuesday when 10-time champion Novak Djokovic squares off against first-time Melbourne Park quarterfinalist Taylor Fritz, and red-hot fourth seed Jannik Sinner tackles fifth seed Andrey Rublev.


1. How they got here

The 36-year-old Djokovic was somewhat off-kilter in his opening two rounds against opponents who seriously tested his resolve.

MORE: Day 10 schedule of play

Croatia’s 18-year-old qualifier Dino Prizmic and Australian world No.43 Alexei Popyrin kept the Serbian honest in four-set scraps, before he cruised past 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry and crushed 20th seed Adrian Mannarino 6-0 6-0 6-3 to notch a 58th major quarterfinal, tying Roger Federer’s record.

Fritz reached back-to-back major quarterfinals for the first time following his four-set triumph over last year’s finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday. 

Fritz roared home to take out Tsitsipas

The 26-year-old was in all sorts against unheralded Argentine Facundo Diaz Acosta in a five-set opening struggle before he blitzed Hugo Gaston and rebounded in four sets against Hungarian Fabian Marozsan.

MORE: AO 2024 men's singles draw

Djokovic has spent 11 hours and 24 minutes on court, 25 minutes more than his opponent.

2. What it means

Three times Djokovic has fallen in the quarterfinals at the season’s opening major, but not in a decade since he succumbed 9-7 in a fifth-set thriller to eventual AO 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka.

Should Djokovic maintain an unbeaten record against Fritz he will reach his 11th Australian Open semifinal, a stage at which he has never been beaten at Melbourne Park.

Fritz has now progressed to a quarterfinal at three of the four Slams, and would reach his first major semifinal should he secure a maiden victory over his more fancied foe.

3. What to expect

With Djokovic revered as the benchmark in returning serve and the mental pinnacle of five-set tennis, Fritz admitted it was crucial he served as well to stand any chance against the world No.1, following his defeat of Tsitsipas.

Djokovic's prowess on return will give Fritz no room for error on serve

Despite the American’s 51 aces being the fifth-most of the tournament so far, the Serbian has won slightly more first-serve points (78 per cent) and 5 per cent more second-serve points (60 per cent).

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Djokovic has only been broken six times, holding an impressive 91 per cent of the time, compared to Fritz’s 88 per cent.

4. Head-to-head

Djokovic holds a collective 17-3 record against the three men remaining on his half of the draw, including a dominant 8-0 on his quarterfinal opponent, 12th seed Fritz.

He trounced the American in both meetings last year, including at this stage at the US Open, but was dragged to five sets at Melbourne Park when they met in the third round at AO 2021.

5. Who wins, and why

Fritz has only once taken a set off Djokovic in one of their eight previous encounters, and comes up against Melbourne Park’s most prolific champion, a man who has looked considerably more comfortable with each passing round.

Winner: Djokovic in three.


1. How they got here

While his three remaining rivals in the top half have toiled to make it this far, Sinner has sailed through barely tested.

The 22-year-old was the only player left yet to drop a set after coasting past Dutchmen Botic van de Zandschulp and Jesper de Jong and Argentine 26th seed Sebastian Baez, to whom he dropped just four games. Last year’s semifinalist and 15th seed Karen Khachanov put up some resistance, but still could not salvage a set.

Sinner’s opponent, fifth seed Rublev, has endured a fluctuating ride to his third Australian Open quarterfinal in four years, having needed five sets to inch past Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild in a match tiebreak before convincing straight-sets results over American Christopher Eubanks and 27th seed Sebastian Korda.

In the longest match of his career, the 26-year-old pulled clear of Australia’s last-remaining hope, 10th seed Alex de Minaur, 6-0 in the fifth set of a four-hour, 14-minute battle.

Sinner has been on court just eight hours and 43 minutes, a considerable two hours and 51 minutes less than Rublev to this point.

2. What it means

Sinner has been arguably the form player from the men’s draw through the opening week and stands to reach just his second Grand Slam semifinal following Wimbledon last year.

Still chasing that breakthrough Slam semifinal, Rublev would become just the second player in the Open Era after Manuela Maleeva to lose their first 10 major quarterfinals should he fall short.  

3. What to expect

The Italian has looked nigh-on unstoppable at times this fortnight. Sinner has hit 132 winners (46 forehand and 23 backhand) to 117 unforced errors (53 per cent), while Rublev has clocked 197 winners (71 forehand and 32 backhand) to 143 unforced errors (58 per cent). 

Rublev dug in to deny De Minaur in the round of 16

While both are exceptional movers and ball-strikers from the baseline, Sinner possesses greater variety and composure under pressure.

4. Head-to-head

Sinner leads the ledger 4-2 against Rublev, including both matches last year in Vienna and Miami.

5. Who wins, and why

Sinner has never looked as sharp heading into a major quarterfinal, while Rublev carries a hefty Slam quarterfinal hoodoo.

Winner: Sinner in four.