Victoria Azarenka is through to her first Australian Open semi-final in a decade after beating Jessica Pegula in straights sets.

Azarenka had not reached the last four at Melbourne Park since going on to retain her title in 2013, but ended that wait with an impressive 6-4 6-1 victory over the third seed on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old from Belarus will do battle with Elena Rybakina for a place in the final following a commanding display on Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka, the 24th seed, stormed into a 3-0 lead and although Pegula got back on serve at 5-3, she was a set down after being broken for a second time.

The experienced Azarenka clinically grasped her first break-point opportunity of the second set but Pegula hit straight back with a break of her own in the next game.

She was unable to turn the tide, though, as an inspired Azarenka dominated the remainder of the set with another two breaks and losing only a further two points behind her serve.

Azarenka, a winner of two mixed doubles grand slam titles since her last major triumph at this tournament 10 years ago, wrapped up the victory in an hour and 37 minutes.

 

Azarenka moves level with Graf

This quarter-final win for the former world number one took her tally of main-draw victories at the Australian Open to 47.

She is now level with the great Steffi Graf in sixth place on the list of the most women’s singles main-draw triumphs in this tournament in the Open Era.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Azarenka – 0/2
Pegula – 3/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Azarenka– 17/20
Pegula– 19/31

BREAK POINTS WON

Azarenka – 5/13
Pegula – 2/4

Sebastian Korda is taking plenty of positives away from the Australian Open, despite retiring hurt in his quarter-final against Karen Khachanov.

The American sustained an issue to his right wrist early in the second set, before calling an end to proceedings in the third when trailing 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 3-0.

Speaking at a press conference after his elimination, Korda said it was an issue he originally felt at the Adelaide International 1, where he was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the final.

"I had it a little bit in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago, but then it went away," he said. "During the matches, it was completely fine. Then just one kind of mishit return and it started to bother me a lot of after that.

"I knew what it was right away, right when I hit the return. I kind of felt that spot that I was feeling before. Some forehands I couldn't even hold the racquet. Volleying was almost impossible for me. So it was a little tough."

The number 29 seed was pleased with his work in Melbourne though, adding: "Obviously a lot of positives [to take]. Still a great tournament. My first quarter-final in a grand slam. I'm going to go forward with my head high and keep working."

Khachanov is through to his second-consecutive grand slam semi-final, having also made the final four at last year's US Open.

The Russian – who will face either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Jiri Lehecka next – sympathised with Korda but said he was just focused on getting the job done.

"It's part of the sport," Khachanov said. "It was a tough competitive battle until a certain moment, but at the end of the day you don't know how serious he's injured, right?

"I think the end of the second set, you know, when I pushed through and then took it with 2-0 lead by sets, it's extra pressure to the guy, if especially he has some issues physically.

"I think also the beginning of the third, you know, when you take this [3-0] lead, so from the opponent, the attitude change, it's way tougher to come back, so I think all those things together. I was quite focused and I knew what I had to do, how I had to push. I did it really well."

Elena Rybakina's Wimbledon success last year is helping her to progress at the Australian Open.

The number 22 seed reached the semi-finals after a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory against Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.

Fresh from beating world number one Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, the only thing that slowed Rybakina down against the 17th seed was a 20-minute rain delay in the first set.

She got through her quarter-final in just an hour and 19 minutes of play, and pointed to her experience at Wimbledon, which culminated in her maiden grand slam win.

"Of course I got all the experience at Wimbledon, and it's helping me now this time here in Australia and I know what to expect," she said.

"For sure it's just easier in this case after Wimbledon. [I am] feeling good on the court and just really enjoying every match I'm playing here."

Rybakina's serve was a key weapon again, hitting 11 aces and winning 76 per cent (29 of 38) of points on her first serve.

She now has a total of 29 aces in the tournament, the most by a women's player and more than her previous three Australian Open campaigns combined.

"[It is] tough to say for me, because I think compared to other girls, I'm quite tall," she said when asked if hitting aces are an under-used part of women's tennis. "I mean, there [are] other girls which are also strong and tall, but for sure I think it's not only about the height.

"I'm happy with my serve. I guess everybody else needs to think if, in this aspect, they need to work more or not, because some girls, they are fine maybe not with the speed, but they have good angles on the serve. They are opening the court. I think everybody is different, and everybody just trying to do what's best for them on the court."

The 23-year-old will face either Jessica Pegula or Victoria Azarenka in the final four, and is excited by once again being included in the business end of a grand slam.

"Of course in the beginning of the tournament, it feels like, 'Oh, it's such a long tournament'," she said. "Now it seems already close. I'm trying to focus just on one match.

"For sure it's close, that's why everybody I think is now going to try even harder, fight for every ball. It's only good players left. For sure it's going to be tough matches."

Karen Khachanov is through to his second-consecutive grand slam semi-final after progressing past Sebastian Korda at the Australian Open.

The Russian – who also made the final four at last year's US Open – was in control of the quarter-final when Korda retired hurt with a wrist problem at Melbourne Park on Tuesday.

Khachanov led 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 3-0 when the American called it a day, and will face either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Jiri Lehecka next.

The number 18 seed had to work hard to take the opening set, with Korda initially saving himself when Khachanov served for it at 5-3, but the latter eventually came through on a tie-break.

Some ferocious and accurate hitting from the baseline was proving to be decisive for Khachanov, hitting 12 winners in each of the first and second sets.

Halfway through the second set, 29th seed Korda received a medical timeout for a right wrist issue that was clearly impacting his forehand, and from there he won just one more game before retiring.

"For sure, back-to-back semi-finals in a grand slam feels great," Khachanov said in his on-court interview after the match.

"Obviously not the way you want to finish the match. I think until a certain point it was very competitive, a very good battle. Sebastian beat one of my friends, Daniil [Medvedev], in three sets and won in five sets against [Hubert] Hurkacz. He is playing great tennis."

Data Slam: Khachanov serves up a treat

Although clearly aided by Korda's struggles later in the contest, Khachanov was impressive on his serve throughout, only being broken once when serving for the first set.

He was able to win 80 per cent (40 of 50) of points on his first serve.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Khachanov – 12/0

Korda – 4/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Khachanov – 27/18

Korda – 18/39

BREAK POINTS WON

Khachanov – 4/10

Korda – 1/3

Elena Rybakina is through to the semi-final of the Australian Open after a convincing 6-2 6-4 victory against Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.

Rybakina, 25, became the first man or woman from Kazakhstan to win a grand slam when she lifted the Wimbledon trophy in 2022, and she is now two matches away from securing her second.

Against Latvia's Ostapenko, Rybakina had a clear power advantage, illustrated by her 11 aces while conceding only one.

She secured a break in the first game of the match, and quickly grabbed a second to race through the first set in 33 minutes. 

It was Ostapenko who snagged the early break in the second set, but she was unable to consolidate it, failing to hold serve in each of her next two chances to allow Rybakina to claw back in front.

Ostapenko will rue some wasteful play as she finished with more break point opportunities than her victorious opponent, but was only able to convert one of her eight chances.

Rybakina will meet the winner between Jessica Pegula and Victoria Azarenka in the semi-final.

Data Slam: Rybakina adds a new string to her bow

With 29 aces so far, Rybakina leads all women at this year's Australian Open in the category. That figure is a testament to her overall serving improvement, as well as what is now her deepest run down under, with more aces this tournament than her past three Australian Open campaigns combined.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Rybakina – 11/3

Ostapenko – 1/1

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Rybakina – 24/21

Ostapenko – 19/22

BREAK POINTS WON

Rybakina – 4/6

Ostapenko – 1/8

Ben Shelton is juggling revision for exams with his hopes of going all the way at the Australian Open.

Shelton beat fellow American J.J. Wolf to set up a quarter-final tie with Tommy Paul – another compatriot – in Melbourne.

The 20-year-old is the lowest-ranked American player to reach a grand slam quarter-final since Todd Martin at the US Open 2000 and the lowest at the Australian Open since Michael Chang in 1996.

This trip Down Under is Shelton's first venture outside the United States, and while focusing on his budding tennis career, he is also taking a general business degree, learning via online classes.

"No exams yet, so it's going to get interesting when my exam dates might conflict with some of my matches," Shelton quipped. "A few assignments here and there. Pretty easy stuff.

"I'm taking classes at a bit slower pace than I was when I was full time in school. I don't have too difficult of a workload.

"It's very manageable while I'm playing tennis. So far in January I haven't had any problems or conflicts.

"I really want to get my degree. It's something that's important to me. That's something that I'm going to stick to and continue to do."

Shelton is one of three American players to have reached the quarters – the others Paul and Sebastian Korda.

It is the first time since the 2005 US Open that three American male players have reached the last eight at a major. It is the first time it has happened in Melbourne since 2000.

"It's definitely a surprise. I got on the plane with no expectations," Shelton said.

"I know that it's very hard to adjust to Australia from the United States just with the jet lag, time change and everything.

"It being my first time, never being out of the United States, I knew it would be a struggle.

"I think it has helped me a little bit, not having that expectation or the feeling that I have to perform, but being able to just go out there, be myself and play free. I think that's been a big contribution to my success.

"Each match that I've won here has felt the same. It's a mixture of joy, relief. I just have that feeling of ecstasy. When the last ball lands, I did it. To be able to do that on this stage four times in a row, that feeling over and over again, has been pretty cool."

Novak Djokovic felt "fantastic" as he outclassed Alex de Minaur with his best performance of the year in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The nine-time champion outclassed Australian De Minaur on Rod Laver Arena, winning 6-2 6-1 6-2 in two hours and six minutes on Monday.

A hamstring injury has been a concern for Djokovic as he bids to win a record-equalling 22nd grand slam title at Melbourne Park, but he was moving freely as he ruthlessly breezed into the quarter-finals.

The fourth seed from Serbia did not face a break point, delivering another returning masterclass and serving superbly to set up a meeting with Russian Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic has won 25 consecutive Australian Open matches – just one shy of Andre Agassi's record – and the 35-year-old rated his demolition of De Minaur as his most impressive of the year.

He said: "Definitely the best tennis I've played this year, this tournament, so far this season. Best match. I'm really glad because obviously as the tournament progresses, the matches are going to get tougher. I'm really glad to manage to win the way I did.

"To feel really great in terms of mobility and movement of my leg, which is great news. So all in all, perfect match for me."

Djokovic did not feel any pain as he brushed De Minaur aside to move into his 13th Australian Open quarter-final and the last eight of a major for the 54th time. 

He added: "We take it day by day. We do a lot of things. It's been honestly exhausting to be involved in a lot of different treatments and machines and stuff that we do.

"At the same time it was necessary. It is necessary in order to get myself in a condition to play. So I'm really glad that my body has responded really well.

"Tonight I didn't feel any pain. I moved as well as I have the whole tournament. It means we are progressing in the right direction.

"Some days you feel good; some days maybe not as. So, as I said on the court, I do not want to celebrate too early because I don't know how the body's going to respond tomorrow and for the next match. What I felt tonight is fantastic."

Andrey Rublev suggested he had given up hope at 5-0 down in the deciding tie-break against Holger Rune.

Rublev prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 (11-9) in a three-and-a-half-hour thriller against the Dane on Monday to progress to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The Russian salvaged two match points to force a tie-break at the end of the fifth set, but found himself staring down the barrel of an exit from the season's first major as Rune cruised into a commanding lead.

Yet Rublev won nine of the next 11 points and, at the third attempt, sealed a remarkable victory when a shot that hit the net cord trickled just over.

"Yes, I was lucky," Rublev said in his post-match press conference.

"I started to think it's over, for sure. Somehow... I was able to start to play with much more focus."

Asked how he maintained his self-belief, Rublev quipped: "I was not believing."

"Beginning of the fifth set, I was completely frozen. Inside I was thinking that I cannot [win]. I cannot move. I cannot hit.

"I was thinking it's over. He's playing much better than me. He deserves to win. He's going for the shots. He's doing something that normally I am supposed to do if I want to win the match.

"I let it go. Somehow the stress that I had, I was able to relieve it. At the end of the match I played much better than during the rest of the match."

During his on-court interview, Rublev said: "I was never able to win matches like this, this is the first time I've won something like this.

"At a very special tournament, to be in a quarter-final, it's something I'll remember all my life. I'm shaking!"

Rublev has qualified for his second Australian Open quarter-final, and his seventh at a grand slam. However, he has lost all of those matches.

The world number six, seeded fifth in Melbourne, has won three successive matches that have gone the distance, a career-first. Now, he will meet nine-time champion Novak Djokovic, who defeated Alex de Minaur in straight sets.

"I don't know," Rublev replied when asked if Djokovic was unbeatable. 

"Novak is very tough player to beat, especially in the slams.

"He has the best experience to win these matches. He's one of the best in history. The only chance I have is if I play my best tennis, just fight for every ball, and that's it. That's the only chance."

For the first time since 2005, the United States will be represented by three players in the men's singles quarter-finals of a grand slam.

Tommy Paul's win over world number 25 Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday ensured his place in the last eight, where he will face compatriot Ben Shelton.

With Sebastian Korda, who defeated Daniil Medvedev in round three, ticking off another top-10 opponent in the form of Hubert Hurkacz, the USA has three male players in the last eight of a major for the first time since the 2005 US Open, when Robby Ginepri, Andre Agassi and James Blake reached the quarters.

It is the first time the USA has had three representatives in the Australian Open quarter-finals since 2000, when Agassi, Pete Sampras and Chris Woodruff made it that far.

While Korda will face Karen Khachanov for a place in the semi-finals, Paul will go head-to-head with Shelton, the world number 89.

Shelton is the lowest-ranked American player to reach a major quarter-final in over 22 years, since Todd Martin at the US Open in 2000, and the lowest-ranked American to get so far in Melbourne since Michael Chang in 1996.

The 20-year-old has already beaten one compatriot, having defeated J.J. Wolff in a five-set thriller in his last match.

Meanwhile, it is the first time since 2006 that no Spanish male players will feature in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic charged into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with a straight-sets demolition of Alex de Minaur.

The nine-time champion was outstanding on Rod Laver Arena, starting the second week with a ruthless 6-2 6-1 6-2 victory over Australian De Minaur.

There were no signs of a hamstring injury that Djokovic has been nursing, other than strapping on his left leg, as he booked a last-eight meeting with Andrey Rublev.

The tournament favourite, going for a record-equalling 22nd grand slam title, did not face a break point as he sealed a dominant victory in just two hours and six minutes at Melbourne Park on Monday.

An aggressive Djokovic took complete control after De Minaur was broken to love when he netted to go 4-2 down, the Serb wrapping up the first set when his opponent overcooked a forehand.

The fourth seed won nine games in a row in a one-sided second set, producing an exhibition of returning with pinpoint accuracy off both wings and serving superbly.

Djokovic was relentless, the depth of his groundstrokes enabled him to dictate rallies, and the 35-year-old produced a huge second serve followed by a backhand winner to go two sets up in just an hour and 15 minutes.

The Belgrade native was in no mood to hang around, breaking in the first game of the third set by racing to return a De Minaur drop shot and going a double break up in a flash.

De Minaur had no answer to the brilliance of Djokovic and although he was able to get on the board at 4-1, he was heading for the exit after sending a vicious serve high and wide.

Djokovic closing in on Agassi record

This was Djokovic's best performance of the tournament as he ominously marched into his 13th Australian Open quarter-final and the last eight of a major for the 54th time. 

Djokovic has 25 Australian Open wins in a row, the joint-second longest run and one behind Andre Agassi's record streak of 26, and was also his 86th main draw win at the Australian Open, his joint-highest tally in a single ATP-level tournament (level with Wimbledon).

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 26/27
De Minaur – 9/28

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 4/3
De Minaur – 3/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 6/12
De Minaur – 0/0

Magda Linette revealed "emotional management" has been key to her best grand slam singles run after upsetting Caroline Garcia to move into the Australian Open quarter-finals.

The unseeded Pole beat fourth seed Garcia 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena on Monday to move into the last eight for the first time.

Linette had never been beyond the third round of a major before this tournament, but she will face Karolina Pliskova for a place in the semi-finals.

The world number 45 will celebrate her 31st birthday next month and feels she is benefitting from being more mature after breaking new ground in her 30th main-draw appearance at a grand slam.

She said: "We worked a lot actually about my emotional management. I think dealing with some kind of losses, but not necessarily match losses, just even throughout the match losses, like small mistakes here and there.

"I think I've never really dealt with them very well. They carried over later on for next point, then another one. It was taking me just too long to get over them.

"I think of course we work so much on my game. We worked a lot on changing the directions and the depth of the ball.

"But I think this approach of really trying to look a little bit different, grow up a little bit emotionally, like that was a big thing for us as a team. All of us approached it. It wasn't only me, but it was the coaches that brought this to me."

Asked how she works on emotional control, Linette added: "I think it's just how do you try to approach the defeats and the mistakes, and are you making the right mistakes, can you then recognise it and move on and deal with them a little bit better. I think I was just getting too negative and too harsh on myself because I feel I'm quite demanding.

"On the other hand when you try to go to that other spectrum, when you're okay with everything, it's also not the best. You really need to stay on top of things and be proactive with it, which ones you're doing good and not.

"I think recognising it, you try again and again and again. Eventually you start recognising which ones were the right ones to deal with.

"It's very difficult. I'm [almost] 31 and I'm just getting it right, so obviously it was one of the toughest things for me. But I'm happy. I'm happy that I have this opportunity, that actually I tapped into something that finally I'm breaking something that you can't really measure it in any way. For me, it was something really difficult to change."

Aryna Sabalenka is hoping she can move to another level in a "new beginning" this year after beating Belinda Bencic to reach a first Australian Open quarter-final.

The fifth seed from Belarus saw off Bencic 7-5 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena on Monday and will face Donna Vekic in the last eight.

Sabalenka has not dropped a set in her four matches in the first grand slam of the year at Melbourne Park and has been installed as the favourite to take the title after Iga Swiatek's exit.

The 24-year-old played in a second successive US Open semi-final last year but has never made it is far as a championship match at a major.

Sabalenka won the Adelaide International 1 before heading to Melbourne and is optimistic she can kick on in 2023.

She said: "I want to believe that the way I'm working right now, the way I'm on the court right now, this is the new beginning, and this is the next step. So I really want to believe that it's going to really help me."

Sabalenka has endured struggles with her serve, but appears to have put that behind her after addressing the issue.

She added: "I worked a lot on my serve. I was keep trying, keep believing, keep changing. Then I worked on my, like, biomechanics.

"Basically that's it. But I was doing everything. I thought it's mentally, but it wasn't. We changed a lot of things on how we work on my serve. We tried to work more, less. We tried so many different things.

"In the end of the season when I start working with the biomechanics guy, he helped me a lot. I think from there, everything started to kind of get on that level."

Croatian Vekic ended 17-year-old Czech Linda Fruhvirtova's impressive run with a 6-2 1-6 6-3 victory.

Stefanos Tsitsipas wanted to keep the secrets of his late resurgence to himself after he finally saw off Jannik Sinner in five sets in the Australian Open fourth round.

The number three seed looked to be easing to victory when he claimed the first two sets, but Sinner fought back to force a decider.

Tsitsipas managed to rediscover his earlier form though to finally seal a 6-4 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-3 victory and book his place in the quarter-finals.

The Greek is the youngest player to reach three consecutive quarter-finals at the Australian Open since Novak Djokovic (from 2008 to 2010).

"It was all about getting myself relaxed and ready for the big battle in the fifth set," he explained at a press conference. "Of course, things weren't going my way after being two sets to love up. It seemed like the momentum switched dramatically, to me at least. There was a big gap that I couldn't fill in.

"But I made a few technical adjustments in the fifth, gave myself an opportunity to play a bit more loose. That really helped me serve better. I think I kept on moving. I kept on being active to be on these returns that I couldn't get in the previous sets."

Tsitsipas struggled on his own serve in particular, facing 26 break points in all, but his resilience saw him save 22 of them, and his dramatic improvement in the deciding set got him over the line when it appeared certain the Italian would become only the second player ever to come from two sets down to beat Tsitsipas at a grand slam (after Djokovic in the 2021 French Open final).

"There were some things, for sure, that I can look back to now and say that was not the best thing to do," the 24-year-old added. "I think it's also important to keep it to myself.

"We have certain things that we want to keep to ourselves and get back and improve. Not everything has to be public. Not everything has to be exposed and said.

"But it's a feeling. It's something that showed something different earlier in the match. And for some reason I decided not to follow or I give myself an idea that I can do things more extreme.

"That didn't seem to work at all. But the most important thing, I did fight. When I came to the most important part of the match, I regrouped and did it the way I did it in the first two sets."

Tsitsipas will face Czech 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka in the last eight.

Jiri Lehecka had not anticipated still being in the Australian Open at this point but his latest victory against a seeded player saw him advance to the quarter-finals on Sunday.

The Czech youngster produced another impressive showing to beat number six seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3) in the fourth round.

Despite having never won a main draw match at a grand slam prior to this tournament, Lehecka has now defeated three seeds, having also dispatched of Borna Coric (21) and Cameron Norrie (11) during his passage to the last eight.

"Honestly, it feels amazing," he said after the victory. "To be in the quarters, I wouldn't believe it if somebody told me this when I was on my way over here.

"I'm super excited for everything that will come next. Of course, I'll try to do my best to recover well and to show my best tennis again in my next match."

While his Canadian opponent utilised his serve well, hitting 20 aces, it was on net points where Lehecka thrived, winning 33 of 41 while Auger-Aliassime managed just 11 of 26.

The 21-year-old has another big test next as he faces third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, having lost to the Greek in their one previous meeting in Rotterdam in February despite winning the first set.

"I'll be super excited [to face Tsitsipas]," Lehecka said. "I will go for that revenge, for sure. I know that he will remember how we played last year in Rotterdam. One set I was the better player on the court. Then he overtook the match. But I think that he will remember, and he will know what my strengths are.

"He will feel that I can get him under pressure. At the same time, I know that he's a great player. I mean, he's number four in the world.

"I know how to play against him."

Karen Khachanov achieved something not seen at the Australian Open in 11 years as he beat Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets at Melbourne Park.

The Russian number 18 seed remarkably won the first 14 games of the fourth-round contest, inflicting two double bagels on Japanese opponent on Sunday.

That had not been achieved in the men's draw since Philipp Petzschner won the first two sets against Lukas Rosol without losing a game in 2012, and was just the fifth time it had happened in the Open Era.

Khachanov completely dominated Nishioka until the third set, incredibly only dropping two points in the whole of the second.

Nishioka, seeded 31, showed some fight to force a third-set tie-break, but Khachanov came out on top in the breaker to seal his place in the quarter-finals, where he will face American Sebastian Korda.

"First two sets I didn't know what was going on, but it's never easy when you are going with the score too easy. You feel it," Khachanov said after the victory. "Then at one point Yoshi tried to turn it around, he pumped [up] the crowd and it's normal.

"I tried to stay focused all the match from the beginning until the end. But it's not easy to win with this score, three sets, so the third set it was a really tough one and I'm playing well, so I'm really happy to go through."

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