Djokovic masters Ferrer to reach Aussie Open semi
The 20-year-old third seed was untouchable up until he served for the match and needed five match points to seal a 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 win over the fifth seeded Spaniard in two hours and 13 minutes.sports Updated: Jan 23, 2008 15:13 IST
Brilliant Serb Novak Djokovic wrestled with his churning emotions before finishing off David Ferrer to clinch his fourth consecutive Grand Slam semi-final appearance at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old third seed was untouchable up until he served for the match and needed five match points to seal a 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 win over the fifth seeded Spaniard in two hours and 13 minutes.
Djokovic will face either top seed Roger Federer or American 12th seed James Blake on Friday.
As lopsided as the scoreline suggests, the Serb was gripped by nerves and distracted by the crowd as he attempted to serve it out before he regathered his composure to go through.
"I even surprised myself with the way I played today, especially in the first two sets, but in the end I was very, very nervous," Djokovic said.
Djokovic revealed he had trouble keeping calm as he was broken on serve for the first time in the 10th game, broke back immediately and then laboured again on serve before holding on to serve for victory.
"I am playing with a lot of emotions, good emotions, bad emotions, and I have been like that since I started playing tennis," he said.
"It's really difficult sometimes to control your emotions in such big matches and important points. And it was a lot of pressure. In some key moments something just flips, and then you behave like you don't want.
"But the most important thing is that I stayed focused in the match."
At one point Djokovic snapped at a noisy fan while serving in the tense final game as the match temporarily threatened to get away from him.
"Today I did something that could have caused a third-set loss, and then who knows in what direction the match would go?," he said.
"But this is something I'll work on, just to try to focus on court, and that's it."
Last year Djokovic reached the semi-finals at the French Open and Wimbledon and finished runner-up to Federer at the US Open where he squandered seven set points in the first two sets on the way to a straight sets loss in the final.
The Serb has advanced without dropping a set in his five matches and stretched his winning streak on hardcourt to nine matches.
He is only the second Serbian to reach the Australian semi-finals in the Open Era (post 1968), following Slobodan Zivojinovic in 1985.
Ferrer could do nothing right and lost the opening seven games on the trot, dropping the opening game in just 23 minutes.
"Today I played some really impressive tennis, especially in the first two sets, even in the third set, till the end," added Djokovic.
"He was a little bit surprised because I have changed some things since the last time we met."
Ferrer stopped the rot in the eighth game but Djokovic broke him again in the sixth game.
The Spaniard slammed his racquet into the court in frustration and fell behind two sets with Djokovic holding three set points in the ninth.
Ferrer lost his service for a fifth time in the fifth game of the final set, down three break points, and conceding his service game on an overhit forehand, but there was high drama to come.
Djokovic wasted four match points on Ferrer service in the ninth game, and with the finish line in sight he was broken serving for the match on the third break point through nerves.
But he quickly broke back, and again laboured to serve it out before clinching it on his fifth match point.