Novak Djokovic (3) defeated the holding Australian Open Champion, Roger Federer (2), in the semi-final of the 2011 tournament today.
Djokovic won in straight sets, 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 6-4 to set up a final against Andy Murray or David Ferrer.
The result, and Rafa Nadal’s quarter final loss yesterday, means that the 2011 Australian Open Final will be the first in any Grand Slam tournament since Australian Open 2008 – some three years ago – that does not feature either Nadal or Federer.
Djokovic began the semi-final a little slowly, giving away a break point in the opening game, but he recovered to save and win that game. The rest of the opening set went with serve, providing a tie-breaker, in which Djokovic quickly gained the upper hand, before closing out the first set.
In the second set, Federer took the early advantage, and produced a break of serve to go 4-2 in front. However, with Federer serving for the set, Djokovic chased down a ball which looked a lost cause before breaking twice in succession to claim the second set.
Federer, having lost the second set from a commanding position, immediately left for a “comfort break” knowing that he needed to take three sets in succession from the World Number Three if he was to make another Grand Slam Final this time.
Again, Federer, fired up, took it to Djokovic on the Serb’s serve, but, again, Djokovic proved a tough nut to crack, in saving three break points in his opening service game.
Federer’s backhand had been letting him down on important points, with many unforced errors on that side going straight into the net. After he and Djokovic had traded breaks of serve, the third set stood 4-4, before Djokovic claimed another Federer service game, after the Swiss player’s backhand failed again.
Djokovic served for, and took the match, soon after, to set up a Grand Slam final appearance he could, or even should, be favourite to win against either Murray or Ferrer, who play their semi-final on Friday evening.
Whatever happens in the final, Djokovic will be pleased with the manner of his victory here today: it may represent a turning point in his career to have dismissed so dominantly Roger Federer on one of his favoured surfaces.