(January 30, 2015) No. 1 Novak Djokovic avenged last year’s quarterfinal loss to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open, besting the Swiss 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 to reach his fifth Melbourne final on Friday.
The match which lasted 3 hours, 30 minutes, was by no means epic as it produced a total 118 unforced errors – 49 for Djokovic and 69 for last year’s champion Wawrinka.
“I did not play on the level that I intended before the match,” Djokovic said. “There were parts of the match where I stepped in and played a game I needed to play, but parts of the match where I played too defensive and allowed him to dictate the play from the baseline. He has great depth in his shots. Once he has control of the rallies it’s very difficult to play against him. So, yeah, it was very emotional, very tense, as it always is against a top player in semifinals of a Grand Slam. Of course, judging by the last two matches we played here in Australian Open last two years, we could expect something like that, five-setter. So the battle was great. It was no different this year from the previous two years in terms of, you know, fighting from both sides. The only difference was that the fifth set went completely my way. But, again, it was a tight first opening game of the fifth set where he had some breakpoint opportunities, missed an easy ball. Yeah, I mean, a couple points decide a winner in these particular matches when you’re playing for Grand Slam final. I can say I’m glad, of course I’m happy and satisfied to go through. I’m proud of the fighting spirit that I had. But the level of performance was not where I wanted it to be.”
“Describe the match? Strange. Not the best, for sure,” said Wawrinka. “I think there were a lot of up and down. Beginning conditions weren’t too good. It’s quite flying a little bit. Balls are not easy to control. Not much. It was not the best match, for sure. “
“Told my coach before the match and already yesterday that I was mentally completely dead and no battery. Tough to focus on what I want to do. Tough to focus on my game. And that’s what happened today.”
Four-time Melbourne champion Djokovic reaches his fifth Australian final and will face Andy Murray, whom he defeated in two previous finals. Djokovic has now equaled the record of Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg for most Australian finals in the Open era.
“Getting to the finals is already a great achievement,” said the Serb. “But now this is the match for which you have worked for now two months. This is where you want to be. This is why you put all these hours on and off the court, trying to get yourself in a position to win Grand Slam trophy, because that’s what matters the most. I’m going to give my best, of course.”
On playing Murray in the finals. Djokovic said: “He’s one of the best defenders in the game, no question about it. He is an incredible counter-puncher. He’s got a lot of variety in his game. He’s got also a big serve. I think if he serves well, that’s a huge, let’s say, confidence boost and advantage for him. He feels that he’s more relaxed on the court and he can swing through his shots from the baseline. I think forehand has improved, judging by the matches he has played the matches during these couple weeks compared to a few months ago. The courts are playing a little bit faster in the last two years than it was the previous years in Rod Laver Arena as we mentioned before. Because they are faster, because the ball is bouncing a bit lower, that’s pretty suitable to his style of the game. He likes that. He has a flat backhand and moves around the court pretty well. So it’s going to be a very physical match, no doubt about that. It’s finals, so I’m sure that we both are going to go out and give our best.”
Djokovic has a 15-8 record versus Murray.