Australian Open: Definitely, one of my best matches on this court, says Novak Djokovic
Dominant Djokovic demolishes Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena to set up final against Nadal; says self-belief helped him reach summit clash
Novak Djokovic yesterday continued his quest for a record seventh Australian Open crown by swatting aside French 28th seed Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a final against Rafael Nadal.
It was a flawless display on Rod Laver Arena by the World No. 1 who moves into a first Melbourne decider since 2016. "It's definitely one of the best matches I've ever had on this court, definitely," said Djokovic, who hit 24 winners and had just five unforced errors. "Everything worked the way I imagined it before the match and even more so. Tough one for Lucas, but he had a great tournament, and I wish him all the best for the rest of the season," he added.
Djokovic lost in the fourth round last year, followed by elbow surgery and poor form until he won Wimbledon and turned his season around. "It was highly unlikely 12 months ago that I would be where I am today, a year later," said the Serbian top seed. "But I've said it before, and I always have plenty of belief in myself, and I think the self-belief is something that always prevails."
Djokovic will face second seed Nadal in a 53rd career meeting and eighth in the final of a Slam. In 2012 the pair contested the longest Grand Slam final in terms of time at the Australian Open when Djokovic edged an epic battle 7-5 in the fifth set after 5hr 53min. Djokovic took just 83 minutes to outclass his regular practice partner Pouille, who was appearing in his first.
Djokovic reached his first Melbourne final since 2016, when he won his sixth title. Nadal holds a 4-3 win-loss record against Djokovic in Grand Slam finals, including all three meetings since their Melbourne Park marathon seven years ago, and both players are chasing milestones on Sunday.
A win for Nadal will see him become the first player in the Open era to win all four Grand Slams twice, while victory for Djokovic will take him clear of six-time Melbourne winners Roger Federer and Roy Emerson.
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