Novak Djokovic keeps bid for 10th Australian Open title alive by thrashing Tommy Paul
Unstoppable Novak Djokovic storms into his TENTH Australian Open final with a straight-sets win over American Tommy Paul, as he blocks out ANOTHER row with the umpire and his dad staying away over his Russia antics to win
Occasionally agitated and rarely at his best, Novak Djokovic nonetheless cruised into the Australian Open final to set up a meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The nine-times champion beat American outsider Tommy Paul 7-5 6-1 6-2 in two hours and 21 minutes as events off stage were shrugged off.
Djokovic’s father had, in the late afternoon, announced that he would not be attending after the controversy over his public association with Russia sympathisers on Wednesday.
Novak Djokovic nonetheless cruised into the Australian Open final on Friday morning
Tommy Paul had no answers for the Serb, who won 7-5 6-1 6-2 in just over two hours
The fallout from that seemed to have affected his standing with the Rod Laver Arena crowd, who were in sympathy with Paul, despite him being a relatively obscure player with no obvious following or appeal.
The Serbian is in a different class to him and it looked that way in the first set until Djokovic got himself involved in a pointless argument with umpire Damien Dumusois over when the shot clock ought to be activated.
A lead of 5-1 became 5-5 before Djokovic went on a tear of seven games, emphasising the gulf in quality between himself and the world number 35.
The Serbian taunted the crowd after he was loudly booed for winning the first set
The 21-time Grand Slam winner also had a frosty exchange with the chair umpire
American Paul was watched on by his girlfriend Paige Lorenze (middle) from his players’ box
When he won the first set he walked back to his chair cocking his ear which drew boos from the packed audience.
His superiority quietened the broader assembly, if not the vociferous knots of his flag-waving hardcore support.
In Tsitsipas he will meet by far his toughest opponent, with the added element of the Greek being hugely popular in Melbourne due to his heritage.
The world number four had earlier gone through in four physical sets versus the increasingly formidable Russian Karen Khachanov, 7-6 6-4 6-7 6-3, and will be a different proposition to Paul.