No. 1 Novak Djokovic dominated No. 3 Roger Federer for an opportunity to defend his Australian Open title, 6-1, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. He will face Andy Murray or Milos Raonic, who play tonight.
The superstars usually play close matches, keeping scores tight even when one falls behind. But this semi-final was different, especially in the beginning.
Djokovic only needed 54 minutes to grab the first two sets. Federer could not hold his serves and committed amateur unforced errors. Numerous shots went wide and long while his usual dominant serving game was weak by his standards. Djokovic even broke Federer at love in the third game of the second set.
“I couldn’t quite get it done,” admitted Federer. “Maybe parts of my game, maybe parts of his game just matched up in a tough way…. But, still, I’m disappointed obviously that it didn’t go better tonight.”
Federer looked like a deer in the headlights while Djokovic danced around the court, barely breaking a sweat. He captured 91% of his first serve points in the first set and 86% in the second set.
“Well, I’ve had matches where I’ve played similar tennis,” explained Djokovic after the match. “But I think against Roger, these first two sets have been probably the best two sets I’ve played against him overall I think throughout my career.”
Federer eventually found his groove in the third set as he held his serves and kept Djokovic on his toes. His first break of the match occurred in the sixth game when he took advantage of a Djokovic double fault. He held the next serve easily and went on to win the set.
But Djokovic received the important break point in the fourth set to win the match.
“It was a battle in the end,” exclaimed Djokovic after the match. “Roger was playing at a very high level…. I knew that he had only dropped one set so far in the tournament.”
He added: “Roger and Rafa have contributed a lot to my career. They have made me a better player. I worked really hard to challenge them…. I’m in the peak of my career, so I’m trying to cherish every moment on the court. Over the years I have been playing the best tennis here. I hope to continue it this week. I’m expecting the unexpected [in the final]. I have two days off until the final, so I’m looking forward to that downtime.”