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Melbourne | Djokovic sets up dream final

Melbourne | Djokovic sets up dream final

Any hopes of a possible giant-killing performance from Lucas Pouille in his semi-final match with Novak Djokovic was quickly expunged by a completely focused Serbian who simply dismantled the Frenchman on the Rod Laver Arena to reach his allotted place in the final.

I think he just played amazing and he was too good today. Lucas Pouille

There was little Pouille good as Djokovic swept him off the court in the first set and only allowed him four games in the other two as he completed a 6-0 6-2 6-2 win after 83-minutes.

“I was trying to find a solution, but couldn’t find any,” Pouille admitted. “The first mistake came after maybe one set … I think he just played amazing and he was too good today.”

The victory takes Djokovic to his seventh Australian Open final where he will face Rafa Nadal, a player he admits has been his greatest rival over the past years.

“Obviously today for me was a perfect match, from the first to the last point,” the world number one stated. “I executed everything that I intended to and even more than I expected.”

He dominated his opponent delivering six aces as his serve held strongly with no double faults to blemish his stats, winning 84 percent of his first serves and 87 percent of his second deliveries. In addition he mad just five unforced errors compared to the 27 made by Pouille.

Attention now turns to Sunday’s final which sees two of the game’s titans lock horns for Rafa Nadal has come through relatively comfortably culminating in his destruction of the latest giant-killer Stefanos Tstsipas in his own semi which he secured 6-2 6-4 6-0.

“He (Rafa) has played impressively well throughout the entire tournament,” Djokovic admitted. “He hasn’t dropped a set. He looked as good as ever on the hardcourt throughout these two weeks. I haven’t played bad myself in the last couple matches. I think this final comes at the right time for both of us. I’m sure we are going to have a blast on the court.”

“We can promise one thing: Knowing that both of us are going to give absolutely everything on the court.”

Djokovic is 27-25 in his career against Nadal and won their last match in the 2018 Wimbledon semi-finas before going on to collect the ultimate trophy.

That clash took five-hours and 15-minutes and next Sunday’s Melbourne final might well live up to that level.

They have met before to settle the Aussie Open title which was an epic one requiring five-hours and 53-minutes to decide who would have the honour. It was Djokovic who claimed it 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7(5) 7-5 and is currently the longest grand slam final of the Open Era.

As Djokovic said when looking ahead to the final. “I think people will enjoy it. I would certainly buy a ticket.”

The pair have in fact met on 52 previous occasions and Djokovic retains the bragging right having won 27 of them to the Spaniard’s 25.

“He’s my biggest rival in my career. I’ve played so many matches against him, epic matches on this court.”


Rafa will be fighting all the way in the final

Getty Images

But Nadal has been more than pleased with his form over the past weeks despite starting the season with knee and ankle problems.

“To start the season like this when a few weeks ago I was in Brisbane having to take a tough decision not to play there, it is difficult to imagine where I am today,” he said. “But I never stopped practising. That week of practice made me feel good.

“It has been a great tournament and I have played very well every day. Hopefully I can play better than that.”

It should be a cracker – neither will back down and both have much to gain by adding to thdeir individual tallies of grand slam titles.





About The Author

Henry Wancke

Henry Wancke is one of the most respected Tennis writers in the UK. Henry is the Editor of both Tennis Threads Magazine and tennisthreads.net. He previously worked as Editor of Tennis World, Serve & Volley as well as Tennis Today magazines and been stringer for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Press Association. He also co-authored the Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Tennis with John Parsons published by Carlton, and the Federation Cup – the first 32 years, published by the ITF. Currently he is the Secretary of the Lawn Tennis Writers’ Association and Hon Vice President of the Tennis Industry Association UK.

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