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Djokovic returns to Australian Open final

Jan. 24, 2013 at 7:32 AM   |   Comments

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MELBOURNE, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic easily handled fourth-seeded David Ferrer in straight sets Thursday and will return to the Australian Open finals.

Djokovic needed just 1 hour, 29 minutes to finish off a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 rout of Ferrer, who had lost just three sets -- two in the quarterfinals -- in his first five matches in Melbourne this year.

Djokovic won 86 percent -- 44-of-51 -- of the points on serve and didn't face a break point off Ferrer. He finished off all seven of his break-point chances and won 55 percent of the points off Ferrer's serve.

Djokovic won the last four games of the first set, capping the set with an ace to finish off a love game. A five-game streak gave him a 5-1 lead in the second set and a four-game run was worth a 4-0 advantage in the third set.

Two games after that, Djokovic was in his seventh final in the last nine major tournaments.

Djokovic, who won his first Grand Slam title in Australia in 2008, Sunday will be seeking to become the first man in the Open Era to win the Australian Open three consecutive years. He beat Andy Murray for the 2011 title and Rafael Nadal a year ago in the final.

He'll draw either No. 2-seeded Roger Federer or Murray, who is seeded third, in the 2013 finals. The Federer-Murray semifinal is set for Friday.

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