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Australian Open lookahead: Djokovic and 2 US first-timers

Novak Djokovic of Serbia waves to the crowd as he leaves Rod Laver Arena after defeating Alex de Minaur of Australia in their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

MELBOURNE, Australia — LOOKAHEAD TO WEDNESDAY

There couldn’t be more contrasting men’s quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Novak Djokovic is still on track for his 10th title at Melbourne Park and now faces No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev — who is 0-6 in Grand Slam quarterfinals. The other men’s match Wednesday features a pair of unseeded 20-something Americans: Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul. Neither has ever been this far at a major tournament and the matchup between the 89th-ranked Shelton, a 20-year-old from Florida, and the 35th-ranked Paul, a 25-year-old from New Jersey, will be the first Slam quarterfinal between two men from the U.S. since 2007, when Andy Roddick beat Mardy Fish in Melbourne. Roddick’s title at the U.S. Open 20 years ago remains the last major singles championship for an American man. There is also a fresh face among the women: Magda Linette is playing in her first quarterfinal in 30 Grand Slam appearances at age 31. She faces Karolina Pliskova, a two-time runner-up at majors. The other quarterfinalists are appearing for the first time in the last eight at Melbourne Park: No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka and unseeded Donna Vekic. Sabalenka is 8-0 in 2023.

TUESDAY’S KEY RESULTS

Women’s Quarterfinals: No. 24 Victoria Azarenka beat No. 3 Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-1; No. 22 Elena Rybakina beat No. 17 Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4.

Men’s Quarterfinals: No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Jiri Lehecka 6-3, 7-6 (2), 6-4; No. 18 Karen Khachanov beat No. 29 Sebastian Korda 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-0, retired.

WEDNESDAY’S FORECAST

Partly cloudy with a high of 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius).

STAT OF THE DAY

35 — Tournament-leading ace count for Elena Rybakina, including 11 against Jelena Ostapenko.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I was at the point where I couldn’t find anything that I feel good about myself. Not like even one sentence.” — Victoria Azarenka, discussing her anxiety.

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AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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