Novak Djokovic shattered the hopes of ailing rival Roger Federer Thursday to sweep into a record eighth Australian Open final and move closer to his 17th Grand Slam crown.
In the 50th instalment of one of sport’s greatest rivalries, the Serb shrugged off a tentative start to reinforce his recent dominance, showing no mercy to the Swiss maestro in a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-3 win.
“Respect to Roger for coming out tonight when he was obviously hurt and not even close to his best in terms of movement,” said defending champion Djokovic, who is into his 26th Grand Slam final.
“He started well at the beginning and I was pretty nervous. It was very important for me to win that first set. Mentally I relaxed after that.”
After the 38-year-old Swiss star’s dream of yet another Grand Slam title was shattered by the Serbian, the epic semi-final clash has garnered a lot of attention on Twitter.
A user tweeted, “Hard Luck Roger. You are GOAT no matter what ! Congrats to Novak Djokovic for entering the finals.”
New Zealand cricketer Jimmy Neesham took to Twitter expressing himself over Federer’s loss.
Djokovic will play either fifth seed Dominic Thiem or seventh-ranked German Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final, but it will take a monumental effort to prize another title from the 32-year-old.
Of the seven Melbourne finals Djokovic has made, he has won them all.