Novak Djokovic has thrown down the gauntlet to the three remaining players in the Australian Open draw after clinically swatting aside Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals on Wednesday (January 25).
In a dominant performance, the nine-time winner was in his element from the get go against Rublev in the pair's first Grand Slam meeting. The first two sets saw Rublev win just three games as the Russian looked bereft of ideas to stem Djokovic's onslaught.
The third set was a tighter affair but Djokovic stepped up to seal his passage to the last four for the 10th time at Melbourne Park.
In his post-match press conference, Djokovic said that he's super pleased with his performance this fortnight, especially in the last two rounds:
"Last two matches, playing against two guys that are really good players, in-form players, to beat them dominantly in three sets is something that is definitely something that I want in this moment, something that sends a message to all my opponents remaining in the draw."
About never losing a semifinal at Melbourne Park, Djokovic said that he's looking to extend his perfect 9-0 record in two days' time:
"With this kind of game, of course the confidence level rises, considering, as you mentioned, the circumstances. I feel good on the court, better and better as the tournament progresses. I've been in this situation in so many times in my life, in my career, never lost a semifinals in Australian Open. Hopefully that will stay the same."
"I always try to give my best in Grand Slams'" - Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is a man on a mission at Melbourne Park this fortnight. The 35-year-old knows that Grand Slams are the tournaments that matter the most.
In his press conference, he said:
"I don't think that I lack determination. I always try to give my best, particularly in Grand Slams, because at this stage of my career those are the tournaments that count the most, of course."
Having won his 92nd career singles title at the Adelaide 1 international two weeks ago, Djokovic is now 10-0 on the season and 26-0 at the Australian Open.
Following an injury-plagued build-up to the year's first Grand Slam, which had put his participation in doubt, Djokovic wants to ride his purple patch:
"You could say that there is something extra this year, yeah. You could say because, yeah, as you mentioned, the injury, what happened last year. I just wanted to really do well. So far I have a perfect score in Australian hard courts, in Adelaide and here. I've been playing better and better. I couldn't ask for a better situation to be in at the moment."
Novak Djokovic is looking to join Rafael Nadal (22) atop the all-time Grand Slam leaderboard this fortnight. That will also return him to the top of the ATP singles rankings.