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Thursday, February 20, 2020

WATCH: Novak Djokovic breaks down in emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant

Novak Djokovic extended his career record against the big-serving Canadian to 10-0, despite having issues with his contact lenses in the third set, to set up a semifinal between two men with a combined 36 major titles.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: January 28, 2020 6:00:15 pm
Novak Djokovic reacts as he is interviewed by John McEnroe about the death of his friend Kobe Bryant following his quarterfinal win over Canada’s Milos Raonic at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne.(AP Photo)

Novak Djokovic has moved to within two wins of an eighth Australian Open title with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (1) victory over 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.

Djokovic extended his career record against the big-serving Canadian to 10-0, despite having issues with his contact lenses in the third set, to set up a semifinal between two men with a combined 36 major titles.

After the match, Djokovic, while speaking to John McEnroe about the death of his friend Kobe Bryant (who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday), paid a moving tribute to his ‘great mentor and friend’ Kobe Bryant.

The defending champion broke down as he spoke about Bryant afterward, saying: ‘I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.”

‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired me and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.

‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Djokovic next plays six-time Australian Open winner Roger Federer, who saved seven match points before fending off 100th-ranked Tennys Sandgren in five sets. Djokovic has never lost a semifinal or final he has contested at Melbourne Park.

(With AP inputs)

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