Novak Djokovic advanced to his fifth Australian Open final as he fought past defending champion Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 in a dramatic contest that lasted three hours and 30 minutes.
It was their third five-setter in Australia. Last year, the Swiss won 9-7 in the fifth set of their quarter-final meeting, and two years ago Nole defeated Wawrinka 12-10 in their fourth-round clash decider. Djokovic now leads 17-3 in their ATP Head2Head series.
With so much at stake, this match provided plenty of drama. It was characterised by too many unforced errors on both sides, with the occasional flash of brilliance.
Novak twice moved a set in front but neither of players could string together their best form for long enough to take command. Despite being below his best, Nole found a way to win, breaking Wawrinka three times in the fifth set to book a place in his 15th Grand Slam final.
One of the memorable moments of the match was when Nole didnt realized he won the third set.
“I made my life very complicated on the court,” said Djokovic. “Playing semi-finals against defending champion, there’s a lot of tensions, a lot of emotions. I was too defensive in the second and fourth set and Stan stepped it up. There were parts of the match where I stepped in and played a game I needed to play, but parts of the match where I played too defensive and allowed him to dictate the play from the baseline. After that, I managed to stay consistent and tough in the right moments and served well when I needed to. I’m happy and satisfied to go through. I’m proud of the fighting spirit that I had. But the level of performance was not where I wanted it to be. Credit to Stan for playing well.”
“I think I have much more positive things to reflect on in my game and then all the matches that I played so far in the tournament than the negative,” Djokovic said.
“I’m in the finals. In the end of the day, that’s why I’m here, to try to get far in the tournament. Getting to the finals in any way possible is a great achievement. I’m going to try to use that for build-up of the confidence for finals.”
Novak will face Andy Murray on Sunday in attempt to win his eighth Grand Slam title. It will be the 24th career encounter between the two (15-8 H2H record).
Looking ahead to the clash with Murray, Djokovic said: “Andy and I go back to when we were twelve years old. We know each other for a long time. It’s nice to see we’re playing another Grand Slam final against each other. We’ve played many, and hopefully we can come up with a big match. He’s been playing some great tennis these couple weeks. It’s going to be necessary to perform at my best and play the best match of the tournament if I want to win.”
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