Novak Djokovic’s dominance at the Australian Open this year continued as he swept past his rival Roger Federer to make the final and more than likely, collect his eighth Melbourne title and his 17th overall at grand slam level.
"He started well at the beginning and I was pretty nervous. It was very important for me to win that first set Novak Djokovic
It was the 50th time the pair have clashed and the Serb has extended his victories over the Swiss by 4. He has also never lost in the seven finals of the Australian Open and whoever he faces, whether Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev who play their semi-final on Friday, the winner will find it extremely difficult to stop the Serbian roller coaster who looks to be on a mission!
Djokovc’s 7-6(1) 6-4 6-3 win over Federer started tentatively with the 38-year-old Swiss icon, who was carrying a groin injury which he picked up when playing Tennys Sandgren during his five set ‘miracle’ victory over the American, obviously keen to take early control for a quick win.
The opening game, on Federer’s serve, lasted six minutes and a clear indication of what was could be expected and when he broke Djokovic on his first service game with an unbelievable passing shot off his backhand, he looked to be successfully implementing his plan, especially as he then pulled ahead to lead 4-1.
Federer had three break points to make it 5-1, but Djokovic successfully fended them off as he started his comeback breaking the Swiss again when serving for the set.
In the subsequent tie-break, the second seed established himself and quickly turned te match in his own favour, assisted somehat by Federer requiring a medical time out for his back during th second set which could be seen to be impeding his movement somewhat.
But there was no likelihood of the Swiss retiring as he has only ever given four walkovers in his long career, so he battled on.
“Respect to Roger for coming out tonight when he was obviously hurt and not even close to his best in terms of movement,” the defending champion said on reaching his 26th Grand Slam final.
“He started well at the beginning and I was pretty nervous. It was very important for me to win that first set. Mentally I relaxed after that.”
It was the fourth time Djokovic had beaten Federer at the semi-final stage in Melbourne after doing the same in 2008, 2011 and 2016.