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Australian Open: Novak Djokovic sets up final with Rafael Nadal

By
Alex Butler
Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action against Lucas Pouille of France during their men's singles semifinal match at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on Friday in Melbourne. Photo by Hamish Blair/EPA-EFE
Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action against Lucas Pouille of France during their men's singles semifinal match at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on Friday in Melbourne. Photo by Hamish Blair/EPA-EFE

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- No. 1 Novak Djokovic dismantled No. 28 Lucas Pouille in the semifinals on Friday, advancing to a matchup with Rafael Nadal for the 2019 Australian Open crown.

Djokovic beat his French foe 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in a match that took 1:23 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. The win sends Djokovic to his seventh Australian Open final. He has a 6-1 record in those matchups.

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"Obviously today for me was a perfect match for me from the first to the last point," Djokovic told reporters. "I executed everything that I intended to and even more than I expected."

Djokovic never trailed in the match. He had six aces and no double faults. He also won 84 percent of his first serves and 87 percent of his second serves. He won 58 percent break points and had just five unforced errors, compared to Pouille's 27.

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"I was trying to find a solution, but couldn't find any," Pouille said. "The first mistake came after maybe one set ... I think he just played amazing and he was too good today."

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Nadal advanced to the final by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Thursday. The No. 2 seed dispatched the No. 14 seed 6-2, 6-4, 6-0.

"He has played impressively well throughout the entire tournament," Djokovic said. "He hasn't dropped a set. He looked as good as ever on the hardcourt throughout this few weeks. I haven't played bad myself in the last couple matches. I think this final comes at the right time for both of us. I'm sure we are going to have a blast on the court."

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"We can promise one thing: Knowing that both of us are going to give absolutely everything on the court."

Djokovic is 27-25 in his career against Nadal. He won their last matchup in the 2018 Wimbledon semifinals. That five-set match took 5:15 in London and led to Djokovic winning the final against Kevin Anderson.

No. 4 Naomi Osaka and No. 8 Petra Kvitova battle for the women's Australian Open crown at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday in Melbourne.

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