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Djokovic eases into title clash with Nadal

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Novak Djokovic / AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK /

Novak Djokovic defeated Lucas Pouille of France 6-0, 2-2, 6-2 in continuation of his easy path to a possible seventh title at the Australian Open in Melbourne. This came after his 34 minute 6/4, 4/1 quarterfinal victory over Japan’s strongman, Kei Nishikori, who withdrew due to injury.

Djokovic elected to serve first and opened proceedings with an ace wide to Pouille’s right side. When Pouille leveled 15-all with a forehand winner and followed with a volley winner, it seemed a battle was in the offing. However, a service winner and second ace gave Djokovic game point that he, however, lost by a forced forehand error. The Serb held the first advantage to lead 1-0. Pouille played a great game but lost, setting the pattern for the whole match.

In his service game that followed, Pouille missed the first serve and lost the point on the second. He faced break danger at 15-40 with a netted a forehand and registered a service winner and ace (205) to deuce. Djokovic prevailed with a forehand winner after a long rally to get advantage and Pouille dropped the game with a double-fault. While Djokovic held the third game without dropping a point, Pouille struggled through four break points and lost the fourth game. Another quick hold gave Djokovic 5-0 and although Pouille registered an ace, he lost the sixth game and the first set was over in 23 minutes.

In the second set opener, Djokovic took the first point on his serve and prevailed in a 21-shot rally to register 1-0.

In the second game, Djokovic slipped as he was taking off to get a drop shot. A forehand pass gave Pouille 30-0 and he won the game on a passing shot from a drop shot by Djokovic. The crowd applauded his rising.

After 32 minutes of play, Djokovic broke Pouile’s serve in the fourth and sixth games to win the set 6-2. The third set was a repetition of the second.

In all, Djokovic made only five unforced errors for the whole match. In the unfamiliar stage of a Grand Slam semifinal, Pouille committed many unforced errors. It was the first career meeting of the two players.


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