Tennis: Djokovic advances to Australian Open finals

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates in his Semifinal match against David Ferrer of Spain. Photo / Getty Images
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates in his Semifinal match against David Ferrer of Spain. Photo / Getty Images

World No.1 Novak Djokovic will shoot for a record third straight Australian Open title on Sunday night bursting with confidence and feeling physically and mentally fresh after his semi-final blitz of David Ferrer.

Djokovic described his performance as incredible after making the Spanish fourth seed look like a junior hitting partner, winning 6-2 6-2 6-1 in just 89 minutes on Thursday night.

As well as the confidence boost and minimal physical toll, he will have 24 hours extra to prepare for the final compared to the winner of Friday night's semi between Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who are expected to have a much more gruelling match.

Djokovic said he much preferred this lead-in to that for last year's final, when he had to survive a near-five hour five-setter against Murray in a Friday night semi-final before outlasting Rafael Nadal in an even longer tournament decider.

"I definitely prefer being fitter for the final and having a little bit more time than I had in 2012," Djokovic said.

"It's quite different circumstances that I have to face this time.

"Last year I played five hours in the semis and had only a day-and-a-half to recover for another six hours with Nadal.

"This year it hasn't been the case and I'm very glad."

He said the way he outclassed Ferrer, who has now lost five grand semi-finals from as many attempts, could only help.

"It can only do positive things to my confidence," the Serb said.

"Definitely at this stage of a tournament, playing semifinals against the world No. 4, somebody that I have respect for, a great competitor, and being able to perform as well as I did, it's incredible."

Djokovic won more than twice as many points as Ferrer, at one stage during the second set stringing together 12 in a row.

He rode a confidence wave through the third set, making spectacular winners look regulation, as he extended his Melbourne Park winning streak to 20.

Djokovic's previous three Australian Open finals have all resulted in wins - in 2008 and the past two years - setting him up with a chance to become the first man in the open era to claim three in a row.

If it's Federer he's playing, both finalists will be seeking a slice of history, as the Swiss great will be chasing his fifth Australian Open crown, which would be an open era record.

If Murray wins through, it will set up a rematch of the most recent grand slam final, when the Scot won his maiden major title at last year's US Open, beating Djokovic in a near-five-hour five-setter.

Ferrer said Djokovic deserved favouritism, but either Murray or Federer would give him a tough fight.

- AAP

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