Australian Open 2015: Novak Djokovic sets up Stan Wawrinka semi-final after easy win over Milos Raonic

World No 1 faces the defending champion for a place in the final

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Top seed Novak Djokovic and defending champion Stan Wawrinka will renew their intense Australian Open rivalry in the semi-finals after both men enjoyed comfortable wins in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Wawrinka continued his impressive title defence with a straight-sets win over Japan's Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals, before Djokovic outclassed the big-serving Milos Raonic on Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic beat Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in a fourth-round clash before claiming his third straight title in 2013, but Wawrinka ended the world number one's 25-match unbeaten run in Melbourne in the quarter-finals last year, winning 9-7 in the fifth.

"The crowd are definitely expecting a marathon like the last couple of years and I am sure both of us will give our best to perform the best possible tennis," Djokovic said in an on-court interview after beating eighth seed Raonic 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 6-2.

"We always ask from each other the most of our own abilities on the court so I am looking forward to it."

Djokovic, who has not dropped a set on the way to the semi-finals and only lost his serve once, added: "It was a great performance, definitely no complaints.

"I returned very well, tried to get as many balls back in play. Some games I had to just let it go and wait for the opportunities and when they are presented obviously try to use them and that's what I've done.

"There are not many tournaments where I have just dropped serve once so I should enjoy it. It feels like Boris Becker on the court. Now I know how he feels."

That was a reference to Djokovic's coach, who nevertheless came in for some light-hearted criticism for leaving the court to answer a call of nature.

"Like everyone he has a need to go to the toilet which I understand... but in the moment I had a break point and I thought he was guilty for me not using that break point," Djokovic joked.

Earlier in the day, Wawrinka defeated fifth seed Nishikori 6-3 6-4 7-6 (8/6) in two hours and four minutes and has dropped just one set in making the last four.

Nishikori had won their previous encounter, also in the quarter-finals of a grand slam, in five sets on his way to the final of the US Open at Flushing Meadows last year.

But fourth seed Wawrinka dominated today's match from the outset and his only nervous moments came when Nishikori saved five match points from 6-1 down in the tie-break.

"I am still nervous at the end of the tie-break," admitted Wawrinka, who eventually took his sixth match point with his 20th ace. "It's never easy. He is returning well and you have to go for it.

"I was a little bit defensive but I am happy to get through."

Asked about his approach to the tournament in an on-court interview, Wawrinka added: "I don't come back to defend, I don't come back to win again. I come back to start a new grand slam

"There is no easy match (in the semi-final), it's going to be a tough one but so far I am playing well and am so happy to be back and playing the semi-final again."

Nishikori admitted he paid for a slow start and could regret an audacious attempted drop shot which gave Wawrinka his sixth match point.

"I started to feel more comfortable in the third set, especially after I found out that I could go a little more aggressive than the first and second set," the 25-year-old said.

"I was mixing up serve and volleys. My serve was much better than first couple sets because I was making more first serves.

"I was struggling my serve and that's why I couldn't get a good rhythm in the first and second set.

"The tie-breaker was really close. If I could get that one, it might change the whole thing. But, you know, he was serving really well until end of the set.

"So I think I have to give him credit. He obviously played really aggressive and played great tennis."

PA

Comments