Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece clinched a spot in the 2023 Australian Open men's final Friday in Melbourne. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Karen Khachanov in a three-hour, 21-minute match, while Novak Djokovic edged Tommy Paul in straight sets to clinch respective spots in the 2023 Australian Open men's final Friday in Melbourne.
Tsitsipas fired 18 aces, 66 winners and converted 5 of 12 break points opportunities in his 7-6(2), 6-4, 6(6)-7, 6-3 victory at Rod Laver Arena. The Greek No. 3 seed will make his second appearance in a Grand Slam final Sunday against Djokovic.
"I couldn't be more ready for this moment to face a player that has won here a lot of times," Tsitsipas told reporters, when asked about Djokovic.
"This is a very humbling opportunity for me. Being in the finals here means a lot."
Khachanov of Russia totaled 10 aces, 46 winners and converted 3 of 4 break points. The No. 19 seed also committed 32 unforced errors.
Djokovic totaled a dozen aces in his win over the Paul. The No. 4 seed from Serbia also fired 31 winners and converted 7 of 11 break point opportunities to stop Paul's quest to become the first American man to reach a Grand Slam final since Andy Roddick in 2009.
Djokovic now will attempt to win his 10th Australian Open crown and tie Rafael Nadal's men's record of 22 overall Grand Slam titles.
"I was really fortunate to hold my nerves after the first set," Djokovic said in an on-court interview on the ESPN broadcast. "It was a key and I started swing through the ball more.
"I'm just really pleased to get to another final."
Paul, who made his first Grand Slam semifinal appearance, totaled four aces, 18 winners and 32 unforced errors in the loss. He also converted just 2 of 9 break point opportunities.
"He didn't really let me execute any of the game plan I laid out for myself," Paul told reporters, when asked about Djokovic.
The Djokovic-Tsitsipas final will air at 3:30 a.m. EST Sunday on ESPN and ESPN+. No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus will face No. 22 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the women's final at 3:30 a.m. Saturday on the same platforms.