Too good: Djokovic defeats Federer, into another Australian Open final

When the stakes are raised and the level of competition ratchets up, Novak Djokovic tends to shift into a different gear.

To say that is what Djokovic did in the semifinals of the Australian Open on Thursday night would be a gross understatement. The world No. 1 soared to borderline unprecedented heights during a 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Roger Federer, thus booking a spot in his sixth career title match Down Under.

Djokovic stormed through the first two sets in devastating fashion–in 55 minutes, to be exact. The five-time champion won 11 of the match’s first 12 games and by the time he committed his seventh unforced error, he already had a two-set lead in hand.

“Against Roger, these first two sets have been probably the best two sets I’ve played against him overall I think throughout my career,” Djokovic reflected. “I’ve had some moments against him in sets where I’ve played on a high level, but this was…yeah…I think a different level than from before.”

After looking positively without answers throughout the first two frames of play, during which his error count (24) more than doubled his winners (11), Federer suddenly picked up the pace. Out of nowhere, the 34-year-old Swiss broke the Djokovic serve in a 3-2 game that went two five deuces and saw Federer miss three excruciating chances before final capitalizing on a fourth. The world No. 3 held his next two service games to seize the set and continued to come up with brilliance en route to a 3-3 deadlock in the fourth.

Federer’s magic at 3-4, 15-30, however, proved to be the last point he would win. Djokovic made one final push to get across the finish line and avoid either a tiebreaker, or–worse–a fifth set. The top-seeded Serb delivered a love service hold to clinch victory after two hours and 19 minutes.

“Obviously I didn’t want to allow him to come back to the match and give him an opportunity maybe to take the match to the fifth,” Djokovic explained. “I know that if I drop my level or concentration or allow myself to get distracted by anything that he would take the first opportunity, jump on me, and just take the lead of the rallies. That’s what he [did] in the third.”

“Before you can really sometimes do something, 45 minutes, a lot of tennis is being played and it’s tough to get back into it,” Federer said of his overwhelmingly quick deficit. “I found a way. Started to play better myself. Made a bit of a match out of it, which was nice. But still disappointed obviously that it didn’t go better tonight.”

Djokovic, who is a perfect 5-0 in Australian Open finals, awaits either Andy Murray or Milos Raonic.


45 Comments on Too good: Djokovic defeats Federer, into another Australian Open final

  1. as I expected, Fed was not happy about his performance…he acknowledged that he could have done way better (in which I agree with him)…but his fans are happy because all of the sudden they appreciate great tennis of the opponent and their GOAT being hammered by the superb Serb…Amazing fans indeed!!!

  2. lol, I don’t know how many times I have voted for Andy Murray and get that – thank-you, you already voted.

    Haven’t seen the fedole match yet.

    • rc,

      I haven’t seen it yet either. I can’t do the 3:30 am thing at all. But it did go as I predicted. Fed did get a set, but Novak is still the man right now.

  3. The Fedole sounds ridiculous.

    “Djokovic stormed through the first two sets in devastating fashion–in 55 minutes, to be exact. The five-time champion won 11 of the match’s first 12 games and by the time he committed his seventh unforced error, he already had a two-set lead in hand.”

    Blitzed City!

  4. With Federer out, only 4 scenarios remain with regard to who wins the Tennisgrand Bracket Pool. It all comes down to a Rising Phoenix or the Hawkstradamus, and the winner will be determined by who wins the semi-final later today: Andy or Milos.

    This has been fun. I hope more will join the game when the French Open rolls around!

    Honorable Mention goes to….Nny – who has already secured a top five spot, having completed her first ever GS ATP bracket. Well done!

  5. Just finished watching it. First 2 sets – ruthless dominance. Ping pong tennis – Fed isn’t going to win like that. The way Nole won the final in Doha made me think Nole just knows how to beat Rafa; and this was showing everyone he simply knows how to beat Fed from the first point of the match. The level was so high from Nole that I wasn’t sure he could sustain it for 3 sets in a row. And Fed didn’t give up – got to hand it to Fed for getting a set like he did. A couple things that also stood out: the number shots Fed over-hit; trying too hard and far too tight. The other was the intensity Nole brings when it’s Fed or Rafa across the net – the wide-eyed stare he gets when he’s simply not going to lose. That’s the energy and intensity many times missing in his other matches and sort of lulls one into thinking he’s tired or off his game – but he’s not!

    Someone young – Raonic or Andy will meet Nole in the final and I’m ready for a new look. Well, if it’s Andy, it’s a repeat of 2015. Sort of hope it’s Raonic for that reason – we’ll see how much Andy wants it in a few hours. I’d be happy for any of them to win AO.

    • rc,

      I watched the replay of the match today on ESPN. My thoughts are very similar to yours. It was true that Novak couldn’t sustain that high level of play through the third set and Fef did not stop trying. But it is true that fed had to go for more and was pressing at times. That’s what Novak does to his opponents. He has become so much stronger mentally now. He just refuses to lose. Rafa was always like that.

      People keep saying the same thing, i.e., that Novak doesn’t look good earlier in tournaments, that he’s off, looks tired, whatever. But he manages to peak in the semis and finals. He finds that extra level. I thought what he did after winning ugly against Simon, was so smart. Conventional wisdom would indicate that a player get back out on the practice court. But Novak knows himself well enough to realize that this time he just needed to clear his head and stop and not practice. Then he came back strong in his next match with Nishi.

      • Yes. Indeed, Nny. Got that right. Nole knows himself – he’s become supremely confident, efficient working his way through a draw and calculating when he needs to be. And he’s got a special gear for Fed and Rafa.

        Time for me to find the Muzz v Milosh thread. I’m wide awake at 2:30 am. this is quite entertaining so far. Milosh got the first set.

    • Finally got some time watch the first two sets. Novak was loving the pace coming off Fed’s shots. I think Roger said something in his interview about making Novak use the mid-court more in the third set, forcing him to create his own pace which also why Novak struggled a bit. Roger probably tried it as a last resort but it worked.

      Giving Novak one look for too long when he’s in this form usually ends in a loss for the player across the net. I thought Fed would junk ball him more but it was also windy, since rain was forecasted and junk balling can go horribly wrong in windy conditions.
      I don’t think Roger did much wrong. If he had, he’d have lost the match in straights. Novak had everything going for him-including challenges (Roger’s been there too). It’s just one of those days that you have to accept and move on.

      • Yeah Nole was on fire. I don’t get why Roger didn’t mix up the pace more though. Simon beat Djoker by hitting low flat slow rally balls that seemed to throw Novak off. Fed should’ve tried some of that. Not his game though but still would’ve been nice to see.

  6. What did amy call Milos? The new uber-specimen, think it was. Would to see Nole read and return the uber-specimen’s serve – see what that kind of pressure does to the Raonic serve. Maybe Milos can remain in a metaphysical state of calm confidence.

    • Raonic has only improved his all-court game. His serve was already flawless long before this season–and Djokovic has always handled it with ease.

      • Well, but I’d like to see Milos try it again. Nole might not be able to generate the type of intensity he had v Fed – or v Rafa in the Doha final and Raonic has something special going on – it’s a guess, Ricky.

        Andy will be a good test. Seeing if I can stay up for it. I need some tennis.

        • rc,

          I think in a slam final Novak will find that intensity, no matter who is on the other side of the net. I do not think anything will change against this newer, better version of raonic. Novak will elevate his game.

          I really wish that I could stay up and see murray/raonic, but I simply cannot do it now. I will record it and watch it when I get up.

      • Wrong, Novak struggled against Raonic’s serve at Rome 2014 and the match went the distance, hardly always handled it (Raonic’s serves) with ease.

        Raonic also beat Murray twice so it wont be a straight forward match for Murray, or Novak should they meet.

        • The last time Andy and Milos played was Madrid — Milos was having the foot problem. Had to go look at the h2h.

          Did you pick Milos, Luckystar?

          • I dont know. Murray has not played against this new improved Raonic; it all depends on how Murray handles Raonic’s serves. Murray wins if he brings his best tennis.

  7. I love all this hype for 2016 version Raonic, however he’s nowhere close to beating Novak.
    His main game is fairly similar to how Fed plays nowadays, rush to the net whenever possible. However Fed got much better movement / instincts of going to the net. If Fed had such a tough time against Novak, Milos certainly won’t do any better.

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