Djokovic crushes qualifier Karatsev to reach ninth Australian Open final
Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic moved into his ninth Australian Open final on Thursday following a straight sets win over the qualifier Aslan Karatsev.
Djokovic, who is seeking an 18th singles title at a Grand Slam tournament, dispatched the 27-year-old Russian 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
“This is the best I’ve felt in the entire tournament,” said the 33-year-old Serb who has been nursing an abdominal strain over the past week.
“I had no pain, my best match by far. I’m thrilled to feel this way for sure.
"I definitely had to stretch myself to the limit in the last five days, in every sense. Recovery is the priority right now. I’m feeling the ball well, I’m playing well, I’ve had enough match play.
"Right now it’s about gathering all the necessary energy for the most important match of the Australian Open.”
Djokovic reached his 28th final at a Grand Slam event in one hour and 53 minutes and will face either the fourth seed Daniil Medvedev or the fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s showdown.
Since beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to collect his first Australian Open title in 2008, Djokovic has dispatched Andy Murray on four occasions, Rafael Nadal twice and last year saw off Dominic Thiem in five sets to hoist his eighth crown.
“Of course it gives me more confidence knowing I haven’t lost here in finals or semi-finals,” added Djokovic.
“But that won't be the deciding factor … Tsitsipas or Medvedev will want their first Grand Slam title. I’m sure they’ll do their best and I’ll be ready for that.”
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