News ID: 237896
Published: 0337 GMT January 25, 2019

Djokovic destroys Pouille to set up Nadal showdown

Djokovic destroys Pouille to set up Nadal showdown
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic hits a backhand shot during his Australian Open semifinal victory over Lucas Pouille of France at the Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, on January 25, 2019.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP

A rampant Novak Djokovic completed a stunning 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Lucas Pouille on Friday to storm into his seventh Australian Open final and set up a mouthwatering title match with Rafa Nadal.

The six-time champion was at his devastating best in the one hour and 23 minute procession as he gave the hapless Pouille a brutal lesson in Grand Slam tennis and extended his perfect semifinals record to 7-0 at Melbourne Park, Reuters reported.

Attacking the lines with machine-like precision, Djokovic broke the 28th-seeded Frenchman seven times yet never looked in danger of conceding a break point.

Top seed Djokovic wrapped up the encounter on the second match point when Pouille netted and the Serb will face Nadal in search of a record seventh title in Melbourne.

Djokovic was left struggling to remember whether he had played any better in his previous Melbourne semifinals.

“It’s definitely one of the best matches I have ever had on this court, definitely. Everything worked the way I intended before the match,” he said.

Djokovic will meet second-seeded Spaniard Nadal in Sunday’s final seven years after the Serb prevailed in a five hour 53-minute epic at the 2012 tournament, the longest Grand Slam final on record.

“I would definitely want to buy the ticket for the match, for those who haven’t yet,” he quipped in his on-court interview.

“That’s (2012 final) a once in a life-time event and hopefully the outcome will be the same for me.”

 

Double delight

 

The rewards could not get bigger when Petra Kvitova takes on Naomi Osaka in Saturday's Australian Open final with one of them set to emerge as a fresh champion at Melbourne Park as well as the new world number one.

Four months after stunning 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the final of the U.S. Open last September, 21-year-old Osaka is one win away from becoming the first player since Jennifer Capriati to win the next Grand Slam after her maiden major title.

Osaka fought back from a set and 4-1 down against Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei in the third round at Melbourne Park and showed her determination in winning two more three-setters to keep a 13-match victory streak in Grand Slams running.

She will need all of that grit if she hopes to stop Kvitova, who is yet to drop a set en route to her maiden Australian Open final, in their first career meeting.

“I think to have the opportunity to play her for the first time in a final of a Grand Slam is something very amazing,” Osaka told reporters after her semifinal win. “I’ve watched her play the Wimbledon finals.

“I know what a great player she is. It’s definitely going to be very tough for me.”

Kvitova is one match away from capping one of the most inspiring comebacks in the history of the sport, having had to undergo a nearly four-hour surgery on her playing hand in 2016 after being attacked by a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the Czech Republic.

 “I have been in the final of the Grand Slam, but this is a little bit different,” she told reporters on Friday.

“I’m not playing on the grass, but I think it’s just probably a little bit more special because it’s after everything I have been through. So I think it’s just different, but I don’t think it’s, like, more nervous.”

 

 

   
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