Friday's Australian Open men's singles semifinals delivered the expected results, as Novak Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in a Grand Slam final on Sunday. Both the players were the favorites of their semifinal matches and did not fail despite some temporary troubles during today's action.
Tsitsipas was fighting for the place in a final against Karen Khachanov, who made it into second consecutive Grand Slam semifinal after last year's US Open. The Greek took the advantage in the opening set twice while breaking Khachanov's serve, but could not confirm it on his following serves and that moved the set into a tiebreak. There, Tsitsipas proved his dominance and did not fail to close the set with a 7-2 score. Second set was a great display of serving form by the current world's number 4, who was close to break his opponent in third game (3 breakpoints, all defended by Khachanov), and finally moved into two-sets lead after gaining a break in 9th game and winning second set 6-4. Third one started as expected for Tsitsipas who gained another break and looked like being in a driver seat for straight sets win, but did not manage to serve out the victory in 10th game. Another tie-break was needed, and Tsitsipas blew another chances, losing it despite having two match points, one within his own serve. 4 points in a row for Khachanov since a score 4-6 and the game was still on. The mission to comeback to the whole match has not materialized for Khachanov, as Tsitsipas has not discouraged himself, opening 4th set with a break and holding own serves with a confidence till the end. 3:21 hours were needed for the Greek to earn the final spot, but despite losing the third set, he had this duel seemingly under control for the whole time.
It was difficult to believe, that semifinal match between Novak Djokovic and Tommy Paul will bring any emotions or tennis drama scenario, as Nole was storming through all the previous rounds showing enormous strength referring to all his opponents. Pre-match odds also left no doubts, as Djokovic was a banker favorite with an odd 1.05. The match started as expected, with quick 2 breaks gained by Djokovic and 5-1 score advantage. Then, something unexpected happened, as 9 times AO champion did not convert the set point within own serve, got broken for 5-2 score and lost 4 games in a row in general. It was pretty ugly period of play for Djokovic, who made 24 unforced errors in the whole first set. Despite this short-term crisis, the Serbian regrouped well, regaining the advantage in 12th game and winning the first set 7-5. That was the end of emotions, as the American managed to take just 3 games away from the grand champion in the following two sets, losing it at the end 7-5 6-1 6-2. Paul, who earned his biggest career's success by advancing to Grand Slam semifinal, admitted during the post-match conference, that once Djokovic's game clicked the gear again after first set, he was just unable to realize any gameplan against the multi grand-slam champion.
The line-up of Sunday's final brings the clash between the players who were - same as on women's side - undoubtedly the best in their halves of draw. It will be also the fight for world number 1 spot, which the winner of final match will take, moving up to first place on Monday's new ATP ranking list. Stefanos Tsitsipas showed, that he made a significant progress in terms of dealing with a title contender role, showing the maturity and consistence throughout all the tournament, surviving few weaker moments pretty well. But it's Djokovic, who will be a big favorite on Sunday, after destroying all his opponents despite some injury issues. Nole proved, that he is still able to produce his A-game, and it's difficult to believe that with this kind of form, anyone can stop him on the road to 10th Australian Open title.