26 Jan 2023

American Tommy Paul into Australian Open semi-finals

5:07 am on 26 January 2023

Tommy Paul became the first American man to reach the Australian Open semi-finals since Andy Roddick in 2009 after outclassing Ben Shelton 7-6(6) 6-3 5-7 6-4 in an all-American clash at Melbourne Park.

Tommy Paul of the US at the Australian Open, 2023.

Tommy Paul Photo: AFP

Paul held his nerve in the big points and stood up well to his 20-year-old opponent's blistering serve to reach his first Grand Slam semi. He joins John Isner and Frances Tiafoe as the only active American men to have reached the last four of a major.

"Yesterday I was doing a lot of interviews where I was asked how it feels to be in the quarters, but the semis sound better," Paul said.

"I'm pumped to be here and exited to play in the next round. Doing well in a Grand Slam is everyone's dream."

Shelton was playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for just the second time.

Paul has set up a last-four encounter with nine-times champion Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic delivered another masterclass thumping fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-1 6-2 6-4 to continue his bid for a record-extending 10th crown and 22nd Grand Slam title.

It marked the 44th time that Djokovic reached the last four at the Grand Slams, leaving him six ahead of Rafa Nadal and only two behind his other great rival and 20-times major champion Roger Federer.

"I can't be happier with my tennis, I was solid from the back of the court. I love these conditions, this court, it's definitely special for me," Djokovic said.

Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will play 18th seed Karen Khachanov in the other semi-finals.

In the women's semi-finals on Thursday 22nd seed Elena Rybakina plays 24th seed Victoria Azarenka and unseeded Magda Linette plays fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka.