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Sinner repels Rublev to set up Djokovic semifinal

  • Lee Goodall

Jannik Sinner moved into the second Grand Slam semifinal of his career by pushing past Andrey Rublev 6-4 7-6(5) 6-3 in the early hours of Wednesday morning at Rod Laver Arena, the Italian advancing to the final four of Australian Open 2024 without dropping a set.

MORE: All the scores from Day 10 at AO 2024

Sinner will look back at the second-set tiebreak as a key phase of the match, coming back from 1-5 down to win it 7-5 just as it looked like Rublev was about to level the contest.

For Rublev, it’s back to the drawing board in his quest to reach the last four at one of the majors for the first time in his career. The 26-year-old has now been unsuccessful in all 10 of his Grand Slam quarterfinals.

MORE: AO 2024 men's singles draw

The result earns Sinner a meeting with Novak Djokovic on Friday. The top seed and 10-time champion outlasted Taylor Fritz in four sets during a lengthy, warm day session to move into his 11th AO semifinal.

Sinner has been supreme in Melbourne this fortnight, and is yet to lose a set

“Today was three sets but I could’ve lost both [the first two sets]. He had so many break points and I served really well,” Sinner said afterwards.

“At 5-1 [in the tiebreak] we changed ends and it was a little bit windy so I knew I had a little bit of advantage. These kind of moments I really love to play. This is what I practice for and I’m really excited when we have these pressure points. It went my way today.”

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Asked how he will approach his semifinal against Djokovic, the Italian said he promises to give it everything he has.

“I’m really lucky to face him again," he said.

"This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world, happy that I can play against the number one in the world – he's won here some times – but it’s going to be tough.

“The only thing I can control is that I will give 100 per cent and fight for every ball. We’ll see what the outcome will be.”

Sinner was the first to come under pressure in the early stages, only to turn the opening set in his favour with a run of 10 successive points.

Serving at 1-2 15-40, the world No.4 rattled off four in a row to hold serve, then promptly broke to love. He took the first two points of the sixth game too to keep Rublev frustrated.

Sinner held onto that break throughout the rest of the first set and sealed it 6-4 with a big serve after 38 minutes. 

The second was much tighter and a combined nine break points came and went – five for Sinner, four for Rublev – during the first 12 games.

There was an anxious period for Sinner when he was constantly massaging one of his stomach muscles as if starting to feel some discomfort. He continued without calling for a trainer, and eventually a tiebreak settled it.

Rublev took control with a crosscourt forehand return to grab the first mini-break and a 2-1 lead, and extended that to a 5-1 advantage when they switched ends.

Just as it looked as though the world No.5 would be sitting down at one set apiece, back came Sinner.

The 22-year-old calmly worked his way back into the tiebreak and astonishingly made it six points in a row to steal it 7-5 when a Rublev backhand drifted wide.

From there, Sinner kept pushing for the finish line and broke in the sixth game of the third for a 4-2 lead.

Minutes later he was shaking hands and looking forward to two days’ rest – and another meeting with the world’s best player, who has won all 10 of his previous semifinals in Melbourne.