- Novak Djokovic has reached the Australian Open semis after beating Taylor Fritz
- He secured a 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win after venting his fury earlier in the match
- The defending champion went on to dominate the latter sets in Melbourne
Novak Djokovic has booked his place in the Australian Open semi-finals after seeing off American Taylor Fritz in four sets with a 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.
The defending champion was dominant in the end but it wasn’t all plain sailing after he lost his temper with his own coaching team having missed eight break points at the end of the first set.
Fritz then hit back to claim the second set before the Serbian’s power and quality told as he took control of the third and fourth sets.
The Serbian top seed will meet either Andrey Rublev or Jannik Sinner for a place in the final after securing a semi-final spot at the Rod Laver Arena for the 11th time.
The world No 1 has never been beaten down under after progressing past the quarters as he bids for a 25th Grand Slam.
Novak Djokovic has secured his place in the Australian Open semi-finals after a four-set victory over Taylor Fritz
The American hit back to win the second set but had no answer to the Serbian’s power later on
Djokovic admitted he ‘suffered’ in the first couple of sets and was ‘suffocated’ by Fritz
Speaking after the match, Djokovic said: ‘I suffered a lot in the first couple of sets. Also due to his high quality tennis. He was really kind of suffocating me from the back of the court.
‘It was really difficult to find the right timing, it was really hot while the sun was still out. We all know Taylor has got one of the best serves in the world. I knew the kind of a threat he poses when he serves on such a high quality.
Djokovic had defeated Fritz in all eight of their previous encounters but the American put up a real fight and made him work hard in the early stages.
Fritz saved eight break points and went toe to toe with his opponent in energy sapping conditions before setting up two set points but Djokovic saved them both to force a tiebreak, where he took his level up a few notches.
But the Serbian pushed on and broke the resistence of his opponent to claim the match
The Serb cupped his ear as the crowd roared when he fired a superb cross-court winner to earn five set points and bagged the early lead in the contest after 84 minutes.
Fritz broke early in the next set and bailed himself out of trouble several times with stinging backhand winners as Djokovic looked to respond, but the 26-year-old American held firm and drew level at one set all with a comfortable hold.
Djokovic cooled off by placing ice packs on his head in the third set but he was only comfortable after finally breaking his opponent on his 16th attempt en route to a 2-0 lead, which gave him the platform to push on and win the set.
Fritz had kept Djokovic on his toes and saved eight break points in the first set
The Serbian was an animated figure throughout and showed his frustration despite the dominant end to his victory
Earlier in the match Djokovic lost his temper with his own coaching team after failing to get their attention during the first set
Fritz appeared to struggle with his movement at times in the fourth set and Djokovic moved in for the kill to break in the sixth game before fending off a comeback attempt from Fritz to prevail.
In the first set, Djokovic had missed multiple break points and became more agitated as the set wore on – taking his frustration out on his team at one change of ends.
The 36-year-old was sat drinking water as he tried to grab the attention of those in his personal box by frantically waving his arm. Having not been noticed after several seconds of waving, Djokovic threw his arm up in dismay and then shouted across, which finally did the trick.
He was still far from happy, though, motioning for his team to always be looking at him to help him overcome Fritz in a gruelling first set.
Eurosport commentator Patrick McEnroe joked ‘You had one job!’ after Djokovic was ignored by his team for almost half a minute.