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Melbourne | Djokovic rolls on

Melbourne | Djokovic rolls on

Novak Djokovic may have dropped a set in his opening match but since that point, he has hardly put a foot wrong to smoothly move through the field to reach the semi-finals in defence of his Australian Open title.

I felt great on court, I was very focused, Novak Djokovic

To make the last four he tamed the bazooka-like serving of Milos Raonic who arrived in the quarters without dropping his serve and delivering 82 aces.

The Serbian world No.2, targeting an eighth Aussie crown and 17th major title overall, had trouble with his contact lenses, eased through 6-2 6-3 7-6(1) and a semi-final meeting with Roger Federer following the Swiss’ dramatic five setter in which he saved seven match points before sealing it.

The pair have dominated the Australian Open over the past decade or more, sharing 12 of the last 14 titles. It will also be the 50th meeting of their careers with the Serb currently edging his rival 26-23.

“I have tremendous respect for Roger,” said Djokovic, adding :”The match-ups I have had against Roger and Rafa (Nadal) have made me the player I am today. May the best player win.”

Following his three-and-a-half-hour battle with Tennys Sandren in which he required a medical time out Federer foran undisclosed injury in the lower back or groin area, will need a day off to recuperate before their much awaited clash.

“It really depends sometimes how you’re feeling inside, how much it takes away from you. But I must say I feel pretty good right now,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

The fit-again Raonic reached the Melbourne semi-finals in 2016 and the quarters on three other occasions, including last year, had never beaten Djokovic in their nine previous meetings.

While relying on his serve and powerful forehand, the big Canadian was unable to prevent Djokovic, who is one of the best returners in the game, from defeating him for a tenth time.

“I felt great on court, I was very focused,” said Djokovic who took charge of the match from the opening moments.

The Serb, who has won 11 straight matches this season, went toe-to-toe with the Canadian who raised his game in the third set when at 4-4 he called for new contact lenses, which turned into a medical timeout.

That didn’t impress Raonic who thought Djokovic should have waited until the changeover. It didn’t take long for the second seed to regain composure and focus and took command of the eventual tiebreaker dropping just a single point to reach his allotted place in the semis.

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