MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) —
Tommy Paul went into his first career Grand Slam semifinal with a specific game plan to confront
Novak Djokovic at the
Australian Open. Makes sense, right? Have to approach that sort of match with a way you think will help you win.
And then, Paul explained, it all fell apart rather quickly in what became a 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 loss to Djokovic, who has won nine of his 21 Grand Slam titles at
"I mean, he didn't let me do all those things," said the 25-year-old American, who was born in New Jersey, grew up in North Carolina and is now based in Florida, "because of things that he did so well."
They played under the lights in front of a packed house at Rod Laver Arena. Djokovic knows these settings and circumstances so well, especially at a tournament where he's won 27 matches in a row and is 19-0 in semifinals and finals for his career. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday for the title.
"I mean, walking on the court was cool," said Paul, the first U.S. man in the semifinals at Melbourne Park since Andy Roddick in 2009. "Playing the match and getting beaten like that kind of sucked. But, I mean, it's great I got to see the level of where I want to be and know how good I have to play if I want to beat people like that. It was I think a good experience."