MELBOURNE, (Australia) — World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to his sixth Australian Open final after producing a masterful display to defeat Roger Federer 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on Thursday night in Melbourne.
The Serb will face the winner of Friday night’s semi-final between Andy Murray and Milos Raonic as he bids to win his 11th Grand Slam championship. Djokovic has won the title at Melbourne Park in four of the past five years, with that reign only interrupted by Stan Wawrinka in 2014.
“I played unbelievable in the first two sets,” Djokovic told Jim Courier in the on-court interview. “It was necessary against Roger, who was playing at a very high level during this tournament, only dropping one set. I knew he would be aggressive.
“I came out with the right intensity and executed everything perfectly. The two-set lead was comforting, but it was a battle in the end. At the end of the day, it’s important that your convictions are stronger than your doubts.”
Novak Djokovic underscored his mastery of Roger Federer, the men’s field, and Melbourne Park in qualifying for his sixth Australian Open final.
At one stage, Federer seemed to be headed for the heaviest grand slam hiding of his career, having conceded the opening two sets in 54 minutes, only to salvage the occasion by a spirited insurrection in the third set.
Federer saved another break point in the fifth game of the third set before producing his best tennis of the night, including a crazy running crosscourt pass, to break Djokovic for 4-2 and draw thunderous applause from the sellout crowd.
The ageless champion held firm to clinch the set on his third set point and suddenly the crowd had a match on their hands. Striving to become the oldest Open champion since Ken Rosewall in 1972, the 34-year-old had Djokovic down love-30 immediately upon the resumption of play after the roof was shut.
But Federer couldn’t convert and paid the price as Djokovic, after benefiting from a fortuitous net-cord winner, broke the Swiss for a decisive 5-3 advantage before closing out his 34th win from his past 35 grand slam encounters.