Here they come! Both players out on court, with Djokovic getting a big ovation. Plenty of Serbian flags fluttering in the stands at the Rod Laver Arena. It’s currently a balmy 26 degrees in Melbourne.
Head-to-head: Djokovic leads Rublev 2-1 in their three previous meetings, having beaten Rublev twice on hard courts at the ATP finals – but the Russian can take heart from a victory in last year’s Belgrade final. Admittedly, that was on clay and Djokovic was not in peak form – but Rublev won the last set 6-0, the only player other than Rafa Nadal to bagel big Nolé in the last five years.
Here’s Tumaini Carayol on Wednesday’s quarter-final action in the women’s draw, where Magda Linette continued her unexpected run:
The winner here today will face Tommy Paul in the semi-final, after he emerged victorious from the earlier all-American battle with Ben Shelton, winning 7-6 (8-6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4. The 25-year-old reached the fourth round at last year’s Wimbledon, but this is his best performance at a grand slam by some distance.
Andrey Rublev is seeded just one place below Novak Djokovic, but that rather undersells the size of his task today. The Russian is 0-6 in grand slam quarter-finals, losing five of those matches in straight sets. He has the all-round game to go further, but it will be tough to overcome that hurdle today against a man chasing history.
Djokovic is one win from equalling Andre Agassi’s 26-game winning run in Melbourne, and the favourite to clinch a scarcely believable 10th Australian Open this week. He has taken a while to hit top gear this year, held back by a hamstring injury early on but after dispatching Alex De Minaur in ruthless fashion, he is undoubtedly the man to beat.
Play starts shortly, so get comfortable and follow along right here – and you can get in touch with me via email or on Twitter.