Reigning champion Novak Djokovic overcame some dips in form Tuesday to beat Alexander Zverev 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 to book his place in the Australian Open semifinals.
The Serbian world No.1 hit back strongly after losing a tight opening set on a tie break but trailed in both the third and fourth sets before turning them around.
Germany’s Zverev will rue allowing Djokovic back from 4-1 down in the third set and he was also up 3-0 in the fourth.
Djokovic again wore tape on his abdominal area, a legacy of the injury picked up in his third-round win over Taylor Fritz.
But it did not appear to bother him as he reached his 39th Grand Slam semifinal, where he will face an unlikely opponent in Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev, who progressed after beating Gregor Dimitrov – who was struggling with back spasms – 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
In the women’s draw, Serena Williams came through a huge test of her title credentials to reach the last four at Melbourne Park for the ninth time with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Simona Halep in a high-quality clash.
The 39-year-old went toe-to-toe with the Romanian second seed over 80 minutes before she was finally able to move to within two victories of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
Williams hit some ferocious forehands and moved around the court with a freedom that she has not enjoyed for a good while to set up a semifinal meeting against in-form Japanese third seed Naomi Osaka, who stormed past Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei 6-2, 6-2 in an all-Asian quarterfinal.