Djokovic will face Tsitsipas in the final for a 22nd Grand Slam title
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Despite a thigh still largely bandaged, Novak Djokovic significantly dominated the American Tommy Paul in three sets on Friday. The 35-year-old Serb will aim for a tenth victory in Melbourne and as many Australian Open finals.
Novak Djokovic, 5 years olde world, will face Sunday January 29 Stefanos Tsitsipas (4e) in the Australian Open final, where he will aim for a 22e Grand Slam title to equal Rafael Nadal’s record. He swept, Friday, January 27 in the semi-finals, the American Tommy Paul (35e) 7-5, 6-1, 6-2.
“I won the last [finale jouée contre Tsitsipas, à Roland-Garros en 2021, NDLR] so I keep positive! But I was sent back two sets to zero,” recalled the Serbian tennis player.
“Since then, Stefanos has accelerated. So may the best win!”, Added Djokovic a few minutes after dominating in the semi-finals, and despite a left thigh still largely bandaged, the unexpected American Tommy Paul (35th).
Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas, 4e world, qualified for this final, his second major final after Roland-Garros 2021, beating the Russian Karen Khachanov (20e) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3.
He had already played the semi-finals in Melbourne three times (2019, 2021, 2022) but never made the leap. Last year, Tsitsipas was beaten in the semi-finals by Daniil Medvedev. This year, at 24, he becomes the youngest finalist in Melbourne since Novak Djokovic in 2011.
Novak Djokovic’s father unwanted
Novak Djokovic could not count on the support of his father in the stadium for this semi-final. Srdjan Djokovic gave up attending so as not to ease tensions after a video emerged showing him celebrating his son’s victory with pro-Russian supporters. It provoked a strong reaction from the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, who demanded that Srdjan Djokovic be withdrawn from his accreditation for the tournament.
“It was not pleasant not to have him in the box during the semi-final. I hope he will be there for the final”, declared Novak Djokovic after the meeting. A situation which however did not seem to disturb him during his match against Tommy Paul. “At the end of the first set, I managed to keep my composure [quand Paul est revenu de 5-1 à 5-5, NDLR] and that was the key. Then, I let go of my shots better,” analyzed Djokovic.
Without mentioning his thigh, he said he was “110%” on his energy level. A joke quickly stale: “obviously, I’m not as fresh as at the start, but I worked a lot on my physique in the off-season”, he underlined.
In addition, “I know what it’s like to play in five sets, I have experience of it”, recalled the man with 21 Grand Slam titles, who will aim for a 10 on Sunday.e victory in Melbourne in as many finals.