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Djokovic Happy To Avoid More Semi-final Drama In Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic needed just 89 minutes to win his semi-final, in stark contrast with a year ago.

Novak Djokovic could not have had more contrasting routes to the Australian Open final. Just over a year ago, the Serb was kept on court for four hours and 50 minutes in a five-set battle with Andy Murray, before returning less than two days later to beat Rafael Nadal in a five-hour, 53-minute contest in the final.

This time, World No. 1 Djokovic required just 89 minutes to dismantle Ferrer, only dropping seven points on serve in the 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 rout on Rod Laver Arena. The Serb now has nearly three days to prepare for Sunday night’s final against either Roger Federer or Murray, who play their semi-final on Friday night at Melbourne Park.

The 25 year old has lost only three sets to reach the final, but two of those sets were taken from him in a titanic effort by Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round. Djokovic survived by the skin of his teeth, edging the Swiss No. 2 12-10 in the fifth set after five hours and two minutes. Forty-eight hours later he returned to court to get the better of Tomas Berdych in four sets. It looks like the two-time defending Australian Open champion could be peaking right on time.

"I definitely prefer being fitter for the final and having a little bit more time than I had in 2012. It's quite different circumstances that I have to face this time,” said Djokovic.

"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. I was pushed to the limit in the fourth round. Had some really physically tough matches in this tournament, and I'm glad that I went through it. Right now I feel great on the court."  

Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website

Djokovic boasts a 10-7 record over Murray, but trails 13-16 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Federer. The Belgrade native insisted he had no preference in who faced, but will watch the match on Friday.

“It's logical that I watch it with more attention because I'm going to play the winner of that match,” said the right-hander. “So I'm going to do analysis and make the notes and see whoever I play against to get the right tactics for the match.

“I love tennis. Tennis is my life. I'm not just a player; I'm also a fan of this sport,” continued Djokovic. “I love to see these big matches. When Federer and Murray and Nadal are playing, those are the special kind of matches in Grand Slams. So I hope to see something nice tomorrow night.”

Djokovic defeated Murray in the 2011 Australian Open, but was beaten by the Scot in five sets in last year’s US Open final. He has played Federer just once in a Grand Slam final, six years ago at the US Open, falling in three sets.

“I have to be ready to expect a five-hour match or five sets,” said Djokovic. “That's the kind of approach that I have to every single match that I play at Grand Slams, especially in the second week.  No other thoughts than that one. And of course I'm going to try to go out on the court and win whoever I have across the net.”

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