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Djokovic Repeats Zverev Win, Reaches Ninth Australian Open Semi-final | ATP Tour

Novak Djokovic survived one other main check on the Australian Open on Tuesday, as he overcame Alexander Zverev 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(8) in three hours and half-hour to succeed in his ninth semi-final at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic saved 9 of 12 break factors, together with a set level at 5-6 within the fourth set with an ace, to earn his sixth ATP Head2Head victory in eight matches in opposition to Zverev. The 33-year-old has now gained 11 straight matches in opposition to Prime 10 gamers at Melbourne Park, relationship again to his quarter-final loss to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka in 2014.

“Down to the very last shot, it was anybody’s game, anybody’s match,” mentioned Djokovic, in an on-court interview. “[There were] a lot of nerves out there, a lot of pressure. Emotionally, [I] feel a little drained, honestly. It was a great battle. Congratulations to Sascha for a great tournament and a great battle today. Tough luck today, but we pushed each other to the limit.”

That is Djokovic’s second comeback win in opposition to Zverev on Rod Laver Enviornment this yr. Simply 11 days in the past, Djokovic outlasted the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5 in Serbia’s 2-1 loss to Germany on the ATP Cup.

Djokovic has survived back-to-back four-set encounters since struggling an stomach damage in his five-set victory in opposition to Taylor Fritz final Friday. The 17-time main champion is now two wins away from becoming a member of 13-time Roland Garros titlist Rafael Nadal as solely the second man to assert 9 or extra titles on the similar Grand Slam occasion. Djokovic can also be aiming to slim the hole on 20-time Grand Slam winners Nadal and Roger Federer.

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Djokovic made a sluggish begin to his forty eighth Grand Slam quarter-final (39-9), as he dedicated a number of double faults and forehand errors to drop serve within the opening sport of the match. Zverev overpowered the eight-time champion from the baseline to earn a set level at 3-5, however Djokovic stepped contained in the courtroom and ripped a backhand winner down the road to remain in rivalry.

Regardless of failing to serve out the set at 5-4, Zverev continued to play with an aggressive mindset within the tie-break. The German capitalised on poor shot choice from Djokovic at 6/6, as he chased down a drop shot to earn his third set level with a robust overhead. Zverev fired a powerful physique serve to pressure Djokovic right into a forehand return error and clinch the opener.

Djokovic responded instantly within the second set, as he pressured Zverev behind the baseline with deep returns and considerably diminished his unforced error depend. The highest seed dropped three factors within the opening 4 video games and shortly levelled the match with an ace down the T. Djokovic struck 23 unforced errors within the opening two units. Solely two of these have been dedicated within the second set.

“After [the first set], I just felt I started moving better, playing better,” mentioned Djokovic. “I served extremely well. I had slightly more aces than him (23 to 21) which, for me, is a miracle [when] playing against a big server like Sascha.”

Alexander Zverev is aiming to seize his maiden Grand Slam title on the Australian Open.” />

There was a way of first-set déjà vu at first of the third set, as Djokovic misplaced his opening service sport with a forehand error and a double fault. In contrast to the primary set, Djokovic was in a position to recuperate. From 2-4, 0/30 down on Zverev’s serve, Djokovic gained 16 of the following 18 factors to take the third set. The 33-year-old capitalised on Zverev’s first two double faults of the match to recuperate the break and he confirmed higher consistency in prolonged baseline rallies flip the set in his favour.

Zverev continued his development of early breaks within the fourth set. The German discovered his targets as Djokovic rushed the web and he fired a powerful forehand up the road to interrupt serve. However Djokovic confirmed his preventing spirit as soon as extra to e-book his place within the remaining 4. Djokovic escaped from a mixed 5 break factors at 0-3 and 3-4 with all-out aggression and saved a set level at 5-6 with an ace to succeed in a tie-break. The six-time year-end World No. 1 pressured Zverev into an error on the web to assert the one mini-break of the fourth-set tie-break at 6/6 and he transformed his second match level with an ace down the T.

Zverev, who had been bidding to succeed in the Australian Open semi-finals for the second consecutive yr, was disenchanted that he couldn’t capitalise on his possibilities.

“[There were] maybe too many mistakes, easy mistakes,” mentioned Zverev. “However it’s probably the most troublesome issues, holding your serve in opposition to Novak in our sport. [I’m] very upset with the consequence.

“For me, the most upsetting parts in the third and fourth sets were actually not losing my serve, but not getting the second breaks. Because I had chances in both those sets [and] that would have changed things a lot. It was a great match. I think we both played well [and] I think we played an extremely physical match.”

“Other than the second set, I started pretty poorly [in] all the other three sets,” mentioned Djokovic. “I lost my service very early in the first, third and fourth [sets] and just allowed him to swing through the ball a bit more. I regained my focus after I broke my racquet [in the third set] and things started to shift a little bit for me in a positive direction. If he won this match, it definitely wouldn’t be undeserved. He was playing really well. It was anybody’s game and I am just really glad to overcome such a challenge.”

Djokovic will meet Grand Slam debutant Aslan Karatsev for a spot within the championship match. The 27-year-old defeated Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 to turn out to be the primary participant within the Open Period (since 1968) to succeed in the semi-finals in his maiden main championship look. Djokovic will purpose to increase his unbeaten 16-0 document in semi-final and remaining matches when he meets Karatsev for the primary time at Melbourne Park.

“To be honest, I hadn’t seen [Karatsev] play at all before the Australian Open,” mentioned Djokovic. “Of course, I have seen him play during the Australian Open… He is a very strong guy. Physically, he is just very strong. He moves well [and] just has a lot of firepower from the back of the court. [He has a] great backhand. [He is straight] from the Russian school of tennis, [they] always have great backhands. He serves well and he is motivated. He has nothing to lose.”

Did You Know?
That is the ninth time Djokovic has reached the Australian Open semi-finals. On the eight earlier events the Serbian has superior to the ultimate 4 at Melbourne Park, he has lifted the title.

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