The Serbian and world no.1 produced dominant display against no.7 seed Kei Nishikori on Tuesday evening, sealing a commanding 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory to set up a last four encounter with no.3 seed Roger Federer.
The Belgrade native is through to the semi-finals at Melbourne Park for the sixth time and has a 55-6 tournament record.
Novak was in cruise control from the very beginning. After easing into a two-set lead, the defending champion was made to work a little harder in the third. The players had traded breaks twice before Djokovic made a crucial break in the seventh game and consolidated it for 5-3 lead. He served it out two games later, improving his career H2H mark with the Japanese to 6-2 after two hours and seven minutes of play.
“I know Kei very well. He’s not afraid to come out and be aggressive. I needed to weather the storm and I thought I did well in the important moments,” said Novak. “I have to be satisfied. I reached semifinals. I won against a top-10 player in straight sets. Comparing to the fourth round match, this was much better. That makes me confident and encourages me for the next one.”
Match statistics: aces (6-9), double faults (2-4), winners (22-31), unforced errors (27-54), total points won (99-74).
Novak and Roger will meet for the 45th time in a highly-anticipated Australian Open semis on Thursday at 19:30 local time (09:30 CET). They are tied 22-22 in ATP H2H.
Djokovic won their last match, beating the Swiss for the 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title 6-3, 6-4.
On his semi-final opponent, Nole said: “It seems like half of my career match-ups are with him. It’s always a great challenge. I have so much respect for him. I’m expecting a great fight. Roger is playing really terrific tennis in last two years. We played two Grand Slam finals last year. I know very well how good he plays, especially in the later stages of a major event. He always makes you play your best. My best is what is going to be necessary to win against him. Hopefully I’ll be able to deliver.”
Andy Murray (GBR, 2) will take on Milos Raonic (CAN, 13) in the second semi-final.
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