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SportAustralian Open 2024, Day 13: Preview, how to watch, order of play...

Australian Open 2024, Day 13: Preview, how to watch, order of play and predictions

The Headliners

If facing Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros was seen as the ultimate test in modern-day men’s tennis, taking on Novak Djokovic in Melbourne ranks a pretty close second.

The Serbian is chasing a record-extending 11th Australian Open crown, a quest he continues tomorrow against Italy’s Jannik Sinner.

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Djokovic will go in as favourite, yet Sinner is the player to have impressed most in advancing to the semi-finals.

He has yet to drop a set and his confidence levels appear to be rising with each match. Djokovic has a better head-to-head record overall at 4-2 but Sinner’s two victories have come in their last three meetings.

The fourth seed knows it’s a challenge but it’s one he’s up for.

“This is what I practice for, no? To play against the best players in the world,” he said.

“Obviously [he] has an incredible record here, so for me it’s a pleasure to play against him, especially in the final stages of the tournament where things are a little bit more interesting.

“It’s gonna be tough, this, I know. I will control the controllable, which is giving 100 per cent, having the right attitude, fighting for every ball.”

Djokovic has spent 15 hours and nine minutes on court in reaching the last four; he has never taken longer across the first five rounds in Melbourne.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s a sign that the field is starting to close the gap.

Just don’t say that to Djokovic, who is just two wins away from setting a new record of 25 grand slam titles – he currently sits on 24 alongside Margaret Court. He has not lost at the Australian Open since a round of 16 defeat to Hyeong Chung over six years ago.

“I’m aware of the streak that I’m on and the amount of matches that I have won in my career on the Rod Laver Arena,” said Djokovic.

“I don’t want to let that go. The longer the streak goes, the more that kind of confidence, also expectations, build, but also the willingness to really walk the extra mile.”

The subplots

Following Djokovic and Sinner on to Rod Laver Arena are two players who may need to be wheeled out.

Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev have reached the semi-finals the hard way.

The Russian has come through two four-set battles and a pair of five-set marathons. He has spent a total of 16 hours and 15 minutes on court.

Zverev has taken an equally arduous path, with his on-court time totalling 16 hours and 52 minutes.

Such are the fine margins at the summit of men’s tennis, this may come down to the survival of the fittest.

Zverev trails their head-to-head 11-7 and was beaten in five of six encounters in 2023.

“A lot of the times it came down to him being extremely confident last year, him playing some of the best tennis of his life, and me coming back from injury and not having the confidence in deciding moments,” said Zverev in mitigation.

“He’s obviously extremely difficult to play, no question about it, he’s one of the best players in the world right now.”

Order of Play – selected matches

Day session (from 0330 UK time)

Novak Djokovic v Jannik Sinner

Night session (from 0830 UK time)

Daniil Medvedev v Alexander Zverev

When and how to watch

The Australian Open is available to watch live on Discovery+ and Eurosport in the United Kingdom, with the day’s singles action getting under way from 0330 UK time on Friday. The night session is scheduled to start at 0830.

Predictions

Sinner is 14 years younger than Djokovic. He has had a much easier route to this stage, and looks fresher. Add in his recent record over Djokovic and I am going to do the unthinkable and plump for the Italian!

The other semi is equally difficult to predict. Zverev was hugely impressive against Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals but Medvedev’s game is well suited to the match-up so I am taking the Russian to edge it.

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