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Australian Open: Novak Djokovic roars on to the semi-finals

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Novak Djokovic on Wednesday beat Andrey Rublev 6-1 6-2 6-4 to reach the semi-finals while equalling the record of his former coach Andre Agassi with a 26th consecutive victory at the Australian Open.

The nine-time champion was again in superb form, painting the lines consistently in his victory over fifth seed Andrey Rublev on Rod Laver Arena to set up a clash with Tommy Paul.

National Daily can confirm that Djokovic has not been beaten at Melbourne Park since 2018 – part of a 39-match winning run in Australia – and has now matched the sequence of victories of Agassi between 2000 and 2004.

Djokovic on Wednesday equalled Andre Agassi’s record with a 26th consecutive victory at the Australian Open

‘I would rank it as my No.2 performance so far, but very close to the performance of two nights ago,’ said Djokovic after routing the world No.6.

‘But I cannot be happier with my tennis from the back of the court and I love playing in these conditions and these courts. It’s the most special one, I’ve said it many times.

‘It was some really close games we had. Andrey is a great opponent and a great player. One of the quickest players on the tour.

‘One thing is to imagine how to play it’s another thing to execute it on the court. All the important shots at the biggest moments I found my best tennis that’s what makes me the most pleased tonight.’

Djokovic has been protecting his left hamstring over the course of the last 10 days and insists he is doing everything possible to maintain peak fitness, despite being accused of overplaying his apparent injury.

‘I’ve been connected to machines more to anyone else really,’ he said. ‘On the days off I tried any bio-fit machine on this planet to get my leg ready.

‘It worked, I’ll keep going. I miss tennis on my days off but it’s important to be smart and wise with the body. It’s more important to recover and get ready for my next challenge.’

Earlier, Paul got the better of fellow American Ben Shelton to reach his first grand slam semi-final.

The run of 20-year-old Shelton, in just his second grand slam and on his first trip outside the USA, has been one of the stories of the tournament but Paul used his greater experience to secure a 7-6 (6) 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory.

Speaking before the conclusion of the second quarter-final, the 25-year-old said: ‘I’m really excited. It wasn’t the prettiest match ever today but it was how I needed to play the match. He’s a great server. I had to just put in as many returns as I could.

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‘But I’m really excited, man. It’s really cool. I think it’s even cooler if I do play (Djokovic). I probably have a better chance of winning if it’s Rublev, but to play Novak here in Australia would be awesome.’

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