Australian Open: Novak Djokovic through to the final after beating David Ferrer
By Mark Kendall - Twitter: @SkySportsMK. Last Updated: 27/01/13 8:49am
Novak Djokovic is through to the Australian Open final following a ruthless 6-2 6-2 6-1 victory over number four seed David Ferrer.
The top seed, who is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era to win three consecutive titles in Melbourne, will now face the winner of Friday's second semi-final between US Open winner Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
Djokovic needed only an hour and 29 minutes to inflict a chastening defeat on Ferrer who has now lost all five of his grand slam semi-final appearances.
Indeed, in total Djokovic surrendered just seven points on serve as he produced a virtually flawless display that he would later describe as one of the best of his career.
Having won the toss and opted to serve Ferrer made a solid enough start as the first three games went with service, but Djokovic then began to open his shoulders and, having broken for the first time to move 3-2 ahead, proved simply too strong.
With the Spaniard throwing in more and more unforced errors as his opponent turned the screw, Djokovic reeled off four games on the trot with ease to clinch the first set in under half an hour.
Ferrer held in the opening game of the second set, but Djokovic was dictating from baseline, all too aware of his superiority and it was little surprise when the Spaniard netted first a forehand and then a backhand as his opponent broke to forge 2-1 ahead.
The set followed a similar pattern to the first with Ferrer refusing or simply unable to vary his tactics, allowing Djokovic to move him around at will whilst remaining utterly unchallenged on his own delivery.
At one point Djokovic rattled off 12 points on the spin, the World No.1 confirming a double-break when his hapless and beleaguered opponent threw in a double-fault when 0-40 down.
Having closed out the second, Djokovic all but ended the contest as he broke in the opening game of the third set, a scrambling Ferrer sending a backhand long to seal his fate.
Djokovic then began to really enjoy himself, going for and making a host of quite superlative winners from all parts of the court, while a delicate lob-volley at the net over his stranded opponent summed up his total domination of proceedings.
Another double-fault from Ferrer brought up match-point and Djokovic accepted the first as his opponent again fired long, completing a victory that sends out an unwavering message to both Murray and Federer.