ADELAIDE, Australia (AP)Novak Djokovic beat Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 at the Adelaide International on Friday to set up a semifinal with Daniil Medvedev.
The combined ATP-WTA event is a warmup for this year’s Australian Open, which the top-seeded Djokovic missed last year after being barred from the country because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
”Early on he was a better player. He was dictating,” said 35-year-old Serb Djokovic after improving to 8-0 against his Canadian opponent. ”(Then) I started finding my serve and my groove on the court.”
The 21-time Grand Slam winner, who is preparing for a shot at a 10th Australian Open title, will face third-seeded Medvedev on Saturday.
”I don’t think there’s going to be too many short points tomorrow unless we both serve well,” Djokovic said. ”Normally when you play Daniil, you have to be ready to go the distance, physically, mentally, game-wise.”
Medvedev, the runner-up last year to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open, defeated fellow Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-3 on Friday.
”It’s never easy to play your compatriot,” Medvedev said. ”I’m happy that I managed to really raise my level, especially in the end of both sets, and really happy to be through to the semis.”
Medvedev is the 2021 U.S. Open champion, but has lost twice in the finals in Australia – and in 2021 it was against Djokovic.
”For sure I played well last year and I’m playing well right now,” Medvedev said, ”To be honest, that’s all that matters. In order to win a slam, or be in the final, you have to be at your best for seven matches.”
”I managed to do it once and I was really close last year,” he added. ”And that’s what I’m going to try to do again in a few weeks in Melbourne.”
In other quarterfinals on Friday, American Sebastian Korda defeated sixth-seeded Jannik Sinner 7-5, 6-1 and Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan beat Alexei Popyrin of Australia. Korda will face Nishioka in the semifinals.
Teenage qualifier Linda Noskova also beat two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka. The 18-year-old Czech player overcame Azarenka 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6) in a quarterfinal that lasted nearly three hours.
A first-round winner over third-seeded Daria Kasatkina, Noskova has now won five consecutive matches in only her sixth appearance in the main draw of a WTA event.
World No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka was the first woman through to the semifinals after beating Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 7-5.
More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports