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Rublev, Fritz advance to Australian Open quarterfinals

While Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner continued to dominate at the Australian Open, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz battled into the quarterfinals the hard way on Sunday. Rublev outlasted Alex de Minaur in five sets; Fritz upset Stefanos Tsitsipas in four tight sets.

The nightcap in Rod Laver Arena involving Rublev and De Minaur was especially entertaining. Much to the delight of the Aussie crowd, De Minaur took a two sets to one lead by winning a pair of tiebreakers. However, Rublev was not about to go away. In the end, the fifth-ranked Russian powered his way into his 10th major quarterfinal after four hours and 14 minutes.

“We’ve played a couple of times and all of them were dramatic like now,” Rublev said of the 10th-ranked Aussie. “When you play four hours, long rallies and you try to stretch…I started to feel a bit of pain, but it’s normal after four hours with intensity like this. I was just trying not to think about it, just trying to push myself to do everything I could.

“Don’t cry, don’t start to feel sorry for yourself…. Just keep fighting and we’ll see what’s going to happen.

“I started to say to myself, ‘No, you’re gonna die today, but you will do everything,’” Rublev said after defeating De Minaur 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0 in the fourth round. “Somehow I started to play better and better and I found more energy and I was able to win.”

Fritz was able to finish off Tsitsipas in four, prevailing 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in three hours and one minute.

This marks the 12th-ranked American’s first quarterfinal appearance at Melbourne Park. Standing in his way of the semis on Tuesday will be Djokovic, while Rublev and Sinner are set for a showdown. Rublev is 0-9 lifetime in slam quarterfinals.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.