Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 29th 2016 Contents A50
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, January 29, 2016
MELBOURNE --- Novak Djokovic called
it the best he has ever played against
old foe Roger Federer. Serena Williams
was just being her dominant self.
The defending champions both made
their way back to the Australian Open
final, with Djokovic beating Federer 6-
1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and Williams defeating
Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-4 yester-
"I ve had matches where I ve played
similar tennis," said Djokovic, the top-
ranked player in the world. "But I think
against Roger, these first two sets have
been probably the best two sets I ve
played against him overall throughout
Hours earlier at Rod Laver Arena,
Williams advanced to within one win of
another Grand Slam milestone. If the
six-time Australian Open champion wins
tomorrow s final against seventh-seeded
Angelique Kerber, she will equal Steffi
Graf s 22 major singles titles, a record in
the Open era and the second-most in
history behind Margaret Court s 24.
"I was able to do everything that I
needed to do," Williams said of yesterday s
match. "I was really hitting just all the
right shots, making little to no errors,
which is kind of hard to play like that."
Djokovic, a five-time champion at the
Australian Open, advanced to his sixth
final at Melbourne Park. He ll find out
who his final opponent will be after Andy
Murray takes on Milos Raonic today.
For Federer, the signs were ominous
from the beginning. Djokovic held his
first service game at love and broke the
17-time Grand Slam champion in the
second. After seven minutes, Federer was
The first set was over in 22 minutes.
Most spectators --- including a woman
with a sign reading: "Just Married But
Willing to Exchange for Federer" --- were
behind him, applauding Djokovic s service
faults and giving Federer a standing ova-
tion when he broke to go ahead 4-2 in
the third set.
The end came quickly in the fourth.
Djokovic broke Federer in the eighth game
to go up 5-3 --- not even a stunning
down-the-line shot after he earlier chased
down a lob on the same point could save
the Swiss great.
Djokovic held three match points in
the next game and he clinched it when
Federer netted a backhand. Djokovic,
who won three Grand Slam titles last
year, took a 23-22 edge in his 45 meetings
"Definitely I ve played unbelievable
the first two sets but that s what is nec-
essary against Roger," Djokovic said.
Asked about the crowd support for
Federer, Djokovic displayed Swiss-like
"When I play Roger it s something that
is expected, in a way, considering his
career and his greatness on and off the
court," Djokovic said. "He s loved. He s
appreciated. He s respected around the
world. For me it s normal in a way."
Federer said he wasn t surprised by
Djokovic s early blitz.
"I ve seen Novak play this well before,"
he said. "It s tough when it s from the
start because obviously you got to try to
stop the bleeding at some point. He can
get one or two sets all of a sudden ... and
it s tough to get back into it."
In the first semifinal match, Kerber
ended Sydney-born British player Johanna
Konta s surprising run with a 7-5, 6-2
win to reach her first Grand Slam final.
Konta was the first British woman since
1983 to reach the semifinals at a major
Williams is the overwhelming favourite
in the final, and not just based on recent
form. She continued her perfect streak
in seven Australian Open semifinals.
"I definitely block it out," Williams
said in reply to a question about equaling
Graf s mark. "I was one off last year, too.
If I don t win on Saturday, I ll still be one
Despite all her success, it is a loss that
is inspiring Williams in this tournament.
She was two matches away from a cal-
endar-year Grand Slam in 2015 when she
lost to Roberta Vinci in the US Open
"Physically I m feeling a lot better,
mentally I needed that break after the
Open," Williams said, but "I didn t think
I would do this well this fast."
Djokovic, Williams ease into Melbourne final
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Roger
Federer of Switzerland in their semifinal match at the
Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne,
Australia, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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