World no. 1, Novak Djokovic has made it a perfect seven from seven semifinals at the Australian Open, ending no. 28 seed, Lucas Pouille’s career-best tournament 6-0 6-2 6-2 to make it to his seventh Australian Open final, where world no. 2 Rafael Nadal awaits.
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Photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 25: Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand in his men’s semi final match against Lucas Pouille of France during day 12 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Djokovic was on top early, earning several break points in the second game. Pouille saved a couple, but eventually he conceded the game after a double fault. Djokovic was on a roll and took the set without letting Pouille win any games in just 23 minutes.
In the second set, Djokovic opened with a hold and then Pouille finally won his first game for 1-1, but it was long before Djokovic broke again at 2-1. Once again Pouille conceded with a double fault. Pouille was more competitive throughout this second set, but Djokovic still was able to remain in control, winning the set by breaking the Frenchman’s serve yet again.
Djokovic continued to play at an extremely high level, and it was more of the same as he broke for a 3-1 lead after Pouille hit long on break point. The Serbian held to love three consecutive times, only dropping three points on his serve in the first game of the set. He held to love a total of seven times throughout the match, allowing him to dominate.
Pouille held to in the sixth game, but in his next service game, Djokovic was able to break again to take the match. The match lasted a total of 1 hour and 23 minutes, with the Serb only hitting 5 unforced error in the entire match.
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Photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 25: Lucas Pouille of France plays a forehand in his men’s semi final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day 12 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
In his on-court interview Djokovic said “It’s definitely the best match I’ve ever played on this court.”
Djokovic is looking to move clear of Roger Federer as they both hold six Australian Open titles. He is also seeking his third consecutive Grand Slam victory, having won both Wimbledon and the US Open last year.
Of their 52 previous career meetings, the only previous Australian Open showdown between Djokovic and Nadal was in 2012, when the Serbian triumphed after 5 hours and 53 minutes, winning the longest Grand Slam final of the Open era.
Djokovic leads their head-to-head 27-25, beating Nadal in their last meeting in the 2018 Wimbledon semi-final. It was another long one, lasting 5-hours and minutes and spanning two days.