Australian Open 2023 Results: Instant Reactions to Winners and Losers from Wednesday
Tommy Paul earned the opportunity of a lifetime with his Australian Open quarterfinal win on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old set up a semifinal clash with Novak Djokovic by beating fellow unseeded American Ben Shelton in four sets inside Rod Laver Arena.
Paul is the lone United States representative left in either singles draw. Paul, Shelton and Sebastian Korda all made it to the final eight on the men's side, while Jessica Pegula was a quarterfinalist in the women's bracket.
Djokovic will be a brutal opponent to play against for Paul. The nine-time Australian Open champion has never lost a semifinal or final in the tournament.
The No. 4 seed is a perfect 9-0 in semifinals and finals in Melbourne, and it would be no surprise, if he extended that mark given his incredible form this year.
In the women's singles, No. 5 seed Aryna Sabalenka will face unseeded first-time semifinalist Magda Linette.
The 30-year-old Pole earned her third straight two-set victory over a seeded player by beating No. 30 seed Karolina Pliskova. Sabalenka also won in two sets against unseeded Donna Vekic in the last eight.
Sabalenka, Linette and the other two women's semifinalists all won their quarterfinal matches in two sets.
No. 4 Novak Djokovic def. No. 5 Andrey Rublev, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
Tommy Paul def. Ben Shelton, 7-6 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka def. Donna Vekic, 6-3, 6-2
Magda Linette def. No. 30 Karolina Pliskova, 6-3, 7-5
Tommy Paul Reaches 1st Grand Slam Semifinal
The unexpected success of American men is one of the stories of the Australian Open.
Tommy Paul is the last member of that group standing after he defeated Ben Shelton inside Rod Laver Arena.
The 25-year-old knocked out Shelton and Jenson Brooksby in two of the last three rounds in a portion of the bracket that saw five U.S. players reach the third round.
Paul's win has set up an opportunity of a lifetime against Novak Djokovic in the semifinal round.
The American will be a significant underdog to advance to the men's final, though. The Serb has looked dominant against some tough opposition over the last three rounds.
The 35-year-old continued his rout of top players by taking care of Andrey Rublev in just over two hours in straight sets.
Rublev, Alex de Minaur and Grigor Dimitrov all struggled against the former world No. 1 in the last three rounds. Dimitrov was the only player to push Djokovic to a tiebreak. That happened in the first set of their third-round clash.
Djokovic will be projected to win the semifinal match in three sets. A set victory would be viewed as a huge accomplishment for Paul.
If the 25-year-old from New Jersey somehow pulls off the upset, it would be one of the most shocking results ever at a Grand Slam.
Aryna Sabalenka, Magda Linette Set Up Semifinal Clash
The top-five player-versus-unseeded surprise storyline is also playing out in the bottom half of the women's singles draw.
However, the Aryna Sabalenka-Magda Linette showdown is different to the Djokovic-Paul matchup because the Belarusian is not a proven major champion yet.
Sabalenka advanced to her fourth Grand Slam semifinal with a straight-set win over Donna Vekić, but she has never reached a major championship match.
The No. 5 seed can draw from her experience at the 2021 U.S. Open for the clash with Linette. She lost to unseeded Leylah Fernandez in the final four in New York two years ago.
Sabalenka sits in a similar situation on Thursday against Linette, who is appearing in her first Grand Slam semifinal.
The Polish player is in the form of her life right now. She has earned three consecutive straight-set wins over seeded players and eliminated No. 30 seed Karolina Pliskova in two sets to reach the final four.
Linette will still be the underdog against Sabalenka, but she has proved she can compete with the best players in Melbourne.
The Sabalenka-Linette winner will take on a previous Grand Slam champion in the final. Elena Rybakina and Victoria Azarenka will compete in the other semifinal.