Djokovic powered through to the final of the Australian Open after a scintillating performance against the fourth seed David Ferrer. The defending champion lost only five games in an incredibly dominant display, winning 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in just 89 minutes on court. He becomes only the sixth man in the open era to reach four Australian Open finals.
Djokovic went into the match with a good record against Ferrer, especially in the grand slams – four times they have met and four times he has come out on top. The Spaniard’s record against the very top players also leaves a lot to be desired, losing the last eight of his matches against the top three in the world. But Ferrer is not the kind of player to let a record like that faze him, and after Djokovic almost went out to Wawrinka in the fourth round, he had hopes that he could buck the trend and make his first ever grand slam final.
However, things began to look ominous for Ferrer right from the start as the world number one broke his serve in the fifth game, and immediately stamped his authority on the match. It was evident that Djokovic was playing more aggressively than in previous matches, and Ferrer simply could not resist to the onslaught coming from the other end of the court. Djokovic’s powerful groundstrokes enabled him to dominate the points, and often left his opponent scampering across the court in a set that was won 6-2 by the world number one.
Prior to the match, Djokovic had already outlined his plans, highlighting the need for him to be more aggressive: “I need to step in and try to be in control of match.” He executed his game-plan to perfection and unfortunately for Ferrer, the demolition continued into the second set as an early break of serve gave Djokovic the upper hand once again. The defending champion then won eleven consecutive points to help him on his way to a 5-1 lead.
By this point it was hard to not feel a bit sorry for the Spaniard. In this form there are perhaps only three players that can beat the Serb, and Ferrer simply does not have the weapons to trouble the five-time grand slam champion. A hold of serve gave a Ferrer sympathetic cheer from the Melbourne crowd, but the reprieve did not last long as Djokovic wrapped up the second set 6-2, subsequently taking the first two sets after barely an hour on court.
The final set continued in the same fashion as the first two, as Ferrer thankfully avoided what’s known as the “bagel” (losing a set 6-0). However, Djokovic was unrelenting and spectators were left in awe as came up with numerous stunning winners, sealing the match 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. Before the match, everything pointed towards a straightforward win for the Serb, however few predicted it would be such a one sided encounter.
Ferrer is known for being able to able to wear his opponents down, but the Serb is a player who quite simply cannot be worn down. Such was his dominance; at times it was easy to forget that this was the semi-final of a grand slam. Djokovic was playing one of the best players in the world and making it look incredibly easy. He even acknowledged how well he played after the match:
“I played incredible tennis. I felt very comfortable and very confident from the start. I was aware of David’s qualities. I wanted to be aggressive on the court. This is definitely one of the best performances I’ve had in my career.”
This match also puts into perspective the performance of Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round, where he pushed Djokovic all the way, before losing 12-10 in the deciding set.
In Sunday’s final the Serb will attempt to be the first player in the open era to win three straight Australian Open titles. One this is for sure though, today’s performance firmly instils him as the favourite for Sunday’s final, no matter who he plays.