Melbourne: Playing near perfect tennis, Novak Djokovic sent an emphatic warning to Roger Federer and Andy Murray by destroying fourth seed David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday.
Murray and Federer meet on Friday and although they will be concentrating on each other they must surely have been impressed by the clinical demolition of Ferrer by the two-time defending champion at Melbourne Park.
“I was aware of David’s qualities. I wanted to be aggressive on the court and this was definitely one of the best matches of my career,” said the 25-year-old Djokovic, who is seeking to become the first man in the professional era to win three successive Australian Open titles.
“It can only do positive things to my confidence. Definitely at this stage of a tournament, playing semi-finals against the world No. 4, somebody that I have respect for, great competitor, and being able to perform as well as I did, it’s incredible,” the Serb added.
“I have a great feeling about myself on the court at this moment. Now, I have two days off before the final, which gives me enough time to get ready and recover.”
The world No. 1 was in no mood to allow Ferrer the opportunity to come back from a two-set deficit as the Spaniard did against compatriot Nicolas Almagro in the quarter finals, and he stamped his authority on the match early.
He seized the initiative after the fourth game when he began to attack Ferrer’s serve and work him around the court.
The Serb ramped up his own service game and reeled off his next three to love before wrapping up the first set in a quickfire 29 minutes.
Djokovic’s serve was utterly dominant, winning more than 90 per cent of his first serve points and almost 80 per cent of his second, conceding only seven points on serve in the entire match and not having to face a single break point.
He converted all seven of his own break opportunities.
The second set was just as emphatic, with few in Rod Laver Arena able to draw breath as Djokovic extended his run of holding service games to love to five with a barrage of winners.
The third set continued in the same vein with Ferrer under pressure on his serve and Djokovic running riot when he had the ball in hand.
His dominance was highlighted in the fourth game of the third set when he broke Ferrer to love.
“You need to focus on every point and even though I was two sets up, I didn’t want to give him any points,” Djokovic added of his mental toughness. (Reuters)