MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A quick look at the Australian Open:
LOOKAHEAD TO FRIDAY
There’s only one main draw singles match on Day 12: No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic’s semifinal against No. 28 Lucas Pouille. Six-time champion Djokovic wants the record for most Australian Open men’s singles titles to himself — he shares the mark with Roger Federer and Roy Emerson. In his favor at the pointy end of this tournament, he’s never lost a semifinal at Melbourne Park. Each time he has won quarterfinal here, he has gone on to win the title. He won his first major at the 2008 Australian Open, then won three straight Australian titles from 2011-13 and another pair in 2015-16. The 14-time major winner was hampered by injuries for 18 months before returning to peak form in 2018 to pick up the titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. To say he’s a hot favorite against Pouille is an understatement. Djokovic has history when it comes to streaks: He already has won all four majors in succession, although not quite the Grand Slam — he held all four major titles from 2015 Wimbledon to the 2016 French Open. Pouille, though, appears to be capable of anything since he hired Amelie Mauresmo as coach two months ago. He hadn’t won a match in his five previous trips to Melbourne Park. Now he’s on a five-match winning roll at the Australian Open, surpassing his previous best run at a major (consecutive quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2016) with his victory over Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals. Djokovic got a relatively easy run in the last eight when Kei Nishikori retired with injury while trailing 6-1, 4-1. The 31-year-old Serb noted his decade-long run of glory in Australia. “I’ve had plenty of success here. That has helped to kick-start the season in a great fashion … served as a great confidence boost.” The winner will play 17-time major winner Rafael Nadal, who beat 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Thursday night.
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Very hot, chance of late afternoon rain, high of 44 Celsius (111 Fahrenheit).
Hot and sunny, high of 41 C (106 F).
Men’s semifinals: No. 2 Rafael Nadal beat No. 14 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0.
Women’s semifinals: No. 4 Naomi Osaka beat Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4; No. 8 Petra Kvitova beat Danielle Collins 7-6 (2), 6-0.
STAT OF THE DAY
13 — Osaka’s winning streak in Grand Slam matches.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“He has this talent that no other player has: He makes you play bad.” Tsitsipas on what it’s like to face an in-form Nadal at a major.
More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports