Novak Djokovic will bid for a 44th grand slam semi-final when he takes on fifth seed Andrey Rublev at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday night.
Djokovic – fresh off a straight-sets demolition of Australian Alex de Minaur – holds a 2-1 record against the Russian and is chasing his 39th consecutive win in Australia and a 10th major in Melbourne.
Rublev will be appearing in his sixth grand slam quarterfinal but is yet to make a semi-final.
Watch Tennis Live with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
‘Took me 10 f***** years to get over it’ | 01:53
“I know that Novak is a very tough player to beat, especially on the slams,” Rublev told reporters ahead of the match.
“He has the best experience to win these kind of matches. He‘s one of the best in history.
“The only chance I have is if I play my best tennis, just fight for every ball, and that‘s it. That’s the only chance.”
Rublev’s lone win against Djokovic came in the latter’s home country of Serbia, on clay, while Djokovic has beaten Rublev handily in the two times they’ve met on hard court, with both coming in the ATP Finals.
The winner of the match will face American Tommy Paul, who is through to his first major semi-final after defeating countryman Ben Shelton during the Wednesday day session.
In a blustery night on Rod Laver Arena, Djokovic held to 30 to open proceedings.
A 25-shot rally early in Rublev’s first service game tested both players, with Rublev coming out on top.
Djokovic pulled up awkwardly after a Rublev serve during that game.
“That’s something we didn’t see at all against de Minaur, comes up a little funny on the heavily strapped leg after that quality serve,” Jim Courier said on Channel Nine.
Lleyton Hewitt later added: “You’ve got to think that‘s the hamstring, back of the hamstring, that he’s feeling something there as he pulls up. Stretching wide for that swinging serve down the tee.”
We will cheap a close eye on it, especially in the next couple of
Djokovic managed to bring up a break point, but Rublev held firm for 1-1.
Todd Woodbridge once more drew attention to Djokovic’s hamstring, with the fourth seed wincing after one of his service motions.
“It‘s already a different look on the face of Novak than what we saw two nights ago,” he said.
Djokovic held for 2-1, but continued to look laboured at times at the close of rallies.
In a costly error for Rublev, the Russian double faulted facing a break point, giving Djokovic a 3-1 lead.
Djokovic quickly held for 4-1 as he began to build a solid lead despite any lingering hamstring concerns.
The nine-time Australian Open champion was riled up in the following game, telling the chair umpire to tell a rowdy crowd member to “shut up”.
Umpire James Keothavong didn’t comply with Djokovic’s request.
“He is asking the chair umpire to tell the man to be quiet, and the chair umpire pointedly has not done that,” Courier said.
“The plot just gets a wee bit thicker.”
Still, Djokovic managed to bring up five break points on Rublev’s serve, capitalising on the fifth attempt to get to 5-1.
Despite facing break points in his following service game, Djokovic kept himself in command and served out the set 6-1, with the opener taking 39 minutes.
While comfortably in command of the match, Djokovic spoke with Keothavong at the changeover, imploring him to address the heckler in the crowd.
“Three or four times he’s been saying something to provoke me,” Djokovic could be heard saying.
Rublev held serve to open the second set and Djokovic still had issue with the wind, which Woodbrige said was “unusual” for the evening sessions.
While he was pushed to deuce, Djokovic eventually held for 1-all.
As he stretched and missed a shot in the next Rublev service game, Djokovic screamed at his box.
Rublev ultimately held, but faced two more break points in his next service game at 2-all.
Djokovic locked down and forced a mistake from Rublev, sealing the early break in the second set to go ahead 3-2.
Still, the wind continued to throw Djokovic off, with Rublev getting a break point chance but outplayed by Djokovic in an extended rally, with Djokovic letting out a huge roar as he won.
It was Rublev’s turn to get agitated next, taking issue with Keothavong for not giving Djokovic a time violation for taking too long to serve.
“I guess he doesn‘t need to look in his mail box around Christmas time for that card from Novak,” Courier said.
“He is off the card list.”
Making matters worse for Rublev, he was broken in the next game, letting out a huge scream towards his player’s box as he went down 2-5.
Rublev pressed Djokovic in the following game, bringing up multiple break points as he looked to get back into the match.
It wasn’t until his fifth set point that Djokovic sealed it 6-2 in a 44-minute set.
Unrelenting, Djokovic broke Rublev to start the third set.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN DAY 10 – ORDER OF PLAY (All times AEDT)
Rod Laver Arena
Magda Linette (POL) def.  Karolína Plíšková (CZE) 6-3, 7-5
Not before 1pm
 Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) def. Donna Vekic (CRO) 6-3, 6-2
Not before 2.30pm
Tommy Paul (USA) def. Ben Shelton (USA) 7-6(6), 6-3, 5-7, 6-4
Night session from 7.30pm
 Andrey Rublev (RUS) vs  Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Follow the Australian Open in the live blog below!