Djokovic fights off Wawrinka to reach Open final
MELBOURNE - Agence France-Presse
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates after victory against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka during their men's singles semi-final match on day twelve of the 2015 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 30, 2015. AFP PhotoWorld number one Novak Djokovic fought off defending champion Stan Wawrinka over five sets to reach his fifth Australian Open final on Jan. 30, where he will meet Andy Murray.
The Serb top seed won 7-6 (7/1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in 3hr 30mins and will face the British sixth seed for a third time in Sunday's Grand Slam decider.
The clash was Djokovic's toughest match of the tournament and his serve was broken five times in a another titanic duel with the Swiss world number four.
It was their fourth straight Grand Slam encounter to go to five sets with Djokovic winning three of them. He lost to Wawrinka in the quarter-finals at last year's Australian Open.
The top seed won through to his fifth Australian Open final after winning his previous four deciders in Melbourne. He beat Murray in the 2011 and 2013 finals.
But Murray also has form against Djokovic, beating him in the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon finals.
It was not a convincing performance from Djokovic, who made 49 unforced errors to 27 winners and won just 70 percent of his first serves, but crucially he broke Wawrinka's strong serve seven times.
"My game is dependent on how well I move. I think I was too defensive, especially in the second set and in the fourth set as well," Djokovic said.
"Stan stepped it up and credit to him for taking the match to the fifth set.
"I managed to stay consistent and tough in the right moments in the fifth set, served well when I needed to and I'm just so glad to go through."
Djokovic had lost only one of his 74 service games prior to the semi-final, but Wawrinka broke him in the seventh game of the match with a series of withering backhands.
But the Serb hit straight back with outstanding side-to-side movement to level up with the set going to a tiebreaker.
Djokovic was too strong in the tiebreak with Wawrinka too loose with his shots to drop the opening set.
The Swiss fought off break points in his opening serving game of the second set, but Djokovic double-faulted on break point in the sixth to lose the set.
Both players traded service breaks in the third set, but the world number one seized control after Wawrinka could not close out a 40-15 lead and he reeled off the next four points to take the lead in the match.
But again Wawrinka hit back with two breaks in the fourth set to take it into a fifth, just like their three previous Grand Slam encounters.
Two double-faults and an overhit backhand cost Wawrinka an early service break in the final set and another errant backhand lost him a second service to hand the Serb a winning 4-0 break.