The tennis player Serbian Novak Djokovic overcame the controversy in which his father was involved and reached his tenth Australian Open final with a 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 victory over American Tommy Paul.
Djokovic, a nine-time tournament champion, will face third seed Stefanos Tsitsipasin the decisive match on Sunday, after the Greek qualified for his first final at Melbourne Park by beating Russian Karen Khachanov in the previous semi-final.
The The Serb’s father, Srdjan, created a distraction for his son before the semi-final after a video surfaced showing him posing with fans carrying Russian flagsbanned from Melbourne Park early in the tournament.
Srdjan did not attend the semifinal for fear of creating more problems for his son and fourth-seeded Djokovic was in a bad mood from the start at Rod Laver Arena, where he blew a 5-1 lead in the first set and saw Paul come from behind to level at 5-5.
Then the Serb got down to business and, in a furious counter-attack, won 14 of the next 17 games to seal another one-sided victory in his bid to win his 22nd Grand Slam title.
In the previous semifinal, Tsitsipas beat Khachanov, seed number 18, 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-7 (6) and 6-3, approaching number one in the world. The Hellene, who had lost three times in the semifinals at Melbourne Park, would take number one from Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, absent from the tournament due to injury, if he wins his first Grand Slam crown on Sunday.
“I would like to have that number,” Tsitsipas said. “These are the moments I’ve been working hard for, to be able to play endings like this, but endings that have a bigger meaning than just the ending. I’m fighting for number one. It’s a childhood dream to reach number one one day, I’m close.”