Nole is through to the Australian Open semis!

World no.1 Novak Djokovic battled past no.12 seed Taylor Fritz 7-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Tuesday evening in Melbourne to seal a semi-final berth for the 11th time at the hard-court Major event.

It was an entertaining and exciting clash. Novak won the opening set in a tie-break, after saving two break/set points in the ninth game.

Fritz grabbed the second set after an early break to level the contest.

Djokovic missed out on his first 15 break points in Rod Laver Arena. The 10-time Melbourne titlist eventually capitalised on his two break chances in the third set and regained control.

Once Novak hit the top gear, Fritz could not do much, though he fought until the end. The two had traded breaks once in the fourth set, before the no.1 seed made a crucial break to love, wrapping up the victory in three hours and 45 minutes.

“I suffered a lot in the first couple of sets, also due to his high-quality tennis,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “He was serving well, he was staying close to the line, he was kind of suffocating me from the back of the court. I was playing most of the rallies on my back foot. It was really difficult to find the right timing. It was extremely hot while the sun was still out there. Physically very draining, emotionally as well. At the end of the day, I managed to break him when it mattered, in the third and fourth. I upped my game midway through the third set, all the way to the end.”

Match statistics: aces (20-16), double faults (3-2), winners (52-63), unforced errors (26-39), total points won (148-121).

Novak will play against no.4 seed Jannik Sinner on Friday for a place in the grand final (4-2 H2H record). The Italian raced past Andrey Rublev (RUS, 5) in straight sets.

Photo: AP

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