Novak Djokovic will attempt to retain his Australian Open title on Sunday after a straight-set semi-final win over injury-hit rival Roger Federer.
Federer went into the match as a big underdog after his struggles in reaching the last four and with concerns over the groin problem he picked up in his victory over Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday.
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He appeared to have recovered well physically and took advantage of a shaky start from his opponent to move into a 5-2 lead but was unable to serve out the first set and ended up losing it 7-1 on a tie-break.
Federer headed straight off court for another medical timeout, this one apparently for treatment to his lower back, while Djokovic also consulted the doctor and took a pill. Federer reset well at the start of the second set but it was his serve under pressure.
He withstood that until the 10th game, when Djokovic forced a set point and took it 6-4 with a forehand flick, celebrating exuberantly as he moved to within one set of a record eighth grand slam final.
It now seemed a case of when not if Djokovic would clinch victory, and he broke the Federer serve again to lead 4-2 before serving out a 7-6 (1) 6-4 6-3 victory after two hours and 19 minutes.
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Djokovic said: “It could have definitely gone a different way. He started really well and I was pretty nervous. I want to say respect to Roger for coming out tonight, he wasn’t at his best or even close to his best in terms of movement.”