The Australian Open semi-finals match at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne tonight was a battle of wills that the invincible Novak Djokovic, egged on by a vociferously supportive crowd, won by sheer mastery in centre court.
Djokovic started his game in an aggressive manner, hitting superb masterstrokes to win the first two sets. A spirited fightback by Roger Federer in the third set seemed to change the balance of the game, but not for long.
With deep groundstrokes and finely calibrated changes in pace in the fourth and final set, Djokovic regained lost ground, showing the world why he’s the reigning champion. Unfazed, he pummeled his opponent into submission, playing, in his own words, ‘to perfection’. He beat Federer 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
Perfection is a word associated more and more with Djokovic’s game. He’s advancing resolutely to what will be his sixth Australian Open final. He has won the title in four of the past five years, the spell broken by Stan Warwinka in 2014.
It was a disappointing day for Federer. Not since 2001, when he was beaten by Andre Agassi, has the Swiss been limited to just three games in the first two sets. Djokovic was generous in praise for his rival, saying playing a combined 100 matches against tennis greats Nadal and Federer had improved his skill.
Djokovic will now face either Andy Murray or Milos Raonic in the final on Sunday. He has beaten Britain’s No. 1 Murray in the Australian Open Final three times in the past, the last one being his four-set victory last year.