Australian Open 2023 semi-finals: Rybakina v Azarenka, Linette v Sabalenka – live | Australian Open

Key eventsShow key events onlyPlease turn on JavaScript to use this featureRybakina 1-0 *Azarenka (*denotes next server)A double fault from Rybakina to begin. She steadies herself and wins the next point, Azarenka hitting wide for 15-15, then Rybakina smacks a 186km/h ace down the middle. She adjusts her aim, and belts a second ace out wide … and then immediately a third! And that’s the game. Fine serving, and ominous for Azarenka.Updated at 08.49 GMTHere we go. Rybakina to serve.Updated at 08.46 GMTRybakina was born in Moscow, but now competes under the Kazakhstan flag. So it’s Kazakhstan v Belarus.“She has surprised me,” says Eurosport’s Simon Reed, of Azarenka’s run to the last four. “I was astonished how well she played against Pegula, particularly.”“Physically she has impressed me,” says his co-commentator, Jo Durie. “She is moving so well.”The players are hitting a few serves as the warm-up enters the final 30 seconds …Rybakina, the Wimbledon champion, emerges on to Rod Laver Arena after Azarenka.Which of these players will be smiling after two or three sets?Victoria Azarenka takes to the court first. She is wearing a Paris Saint-Germain shirt over her regular kit. Why? It’s because her seven-year-old son, Leo, wears one while watching her matches on TV or in the stadium. So they match.Azarenka enters the court wearing the shirt of everyone’s favourite second team. Photograph: Hannah McKay/ReutersUpdated at 08.49 GMTAlize Lim, the Eurosport presenter, asks Azarenka what is involved in the ‘daily work’ she has mentioned in managing her emotional life: “Be consistent with little things,” Azarenka replies “Being on time, for me, is very hard. I’m trying to be a lot better … to keep yourself in check: I need to do this, I need to do that … it’s very hard, but I’m excited that I’m trying to work at it.”Updated at 08.36 GMTThe Eurosport team is assessing the chances of today’s first semi-finalists. Tim Henman reckons Rybakina is the favourite for the title overall.Azarenka, pictured speaking the sunglasses mentioned by Emma Kemp, says he wants “to push herself a little bit further” … and says she is trying to play on instinct.“The more intuitive I play, the better. When you try to analyse too much, or complicate things, it becomes a problem. I am taking care of my emotions … I am playing with my heart.”Updated at 08.33 GMTYou know what time it is.“Since like 14 years old the coaches have been telling us ‘we need new Americans, we need new Americans’. It’s kind of engraved in my head. It’s important to me. I think we all want it pretty bad for ourselves, but we want it for US tennis too.”Emma Kemp on Tommy Paul’s surprising run to the men’s singles semi-finals, flying the flag for the USA:Emma Kemp“Do you know what happened 10 years ago?” says Victoria Azarenka. It is hard to read her emotions because of the sunglasses she wears at her press conference, but her voice is laced with long-held contempt. Assumptions were made about what occurred at Melbourne Park in 2013 when the 23-year-old Azarenka, having just squandered five match points in her semi-final against Sloane Stephens, took a lengthy, controversial medical timeout before winning the match and then defending her 2012 title.Emma KempThey still can’t land on a nickname, but Australia’s newest men’s doubles pairing is one match away from keeping the Australian Open title in local hands.Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler have been “winging it” through the doubles draw and on Thursday stormed into the final after smoking the far more experienced combination of Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.“Srdjan Djokovic, the father of Novak Djokovic, has been pictured posing for photos with Vladimir Putin supporters at the Australian Open on Wednesday night.Four men had been evicted from Melbourne Park by Victoria police on Wednesday night after chanting pro-Russian and pro-Vladimir Putin slogans on the steps of Rod Laver Arena while brandishing numerous Russian flags, including one with the face of Putin on it.”Tumaini Carayol and Nino Bucci report:Updated at 08.06 GMTPreambleIn a few hours’ time there will be two players left standing in the women’s singles at the Australian Open. Victoria Azarenka has been here before, although not since 2013, the year she won the second of two consecutive titles.Azarenka’s opponent in today’s first semi-final, Elena Rybakina, has never previously been beyond the third round at Melbourne Park. She is of course a grand-slam champion, having prevailed at Wimbledon last summer, so has proved eminently capable of getting it done in these high-stakes matches.Following that match, billed as the tournament’s best server against its best returner, another potentially captivating semi-final awaits. Magda Linette of Poland has never previously been beyond the third round of any grand slam event, and she has played in 30. Standing in the way of the 30-year-old Linette is Aryna Sabalenka, the 24-year-old Belarussian who has raised her service game to devastating effect over the past couple of weeks.This is going to be good. Rybakina v Azarenka is due to start at 8.30 UK time. Let’s go!Updated at 08.01 GMT