Novak Djokovic advances to Australian Open semi-finals

Defending champion beats Tomas Berdych over four sets

Novak Djokovic showed no ill-effects from his marathon encounter with Stanislas Wawrinka by brushing aside the challenge of Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open.

Djokovic scraped past Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set on Sunday night in a match which lasted over five hours.

But, not for the first time in his career, he displayed his remarkable powers of recovery with an impressive performance against the fifth-seeded Czech, winning 6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4 to set up a semi-final clash with David Ferrer.

The victory also meant Djokovic will retain the number one ranking even if he does not win the title on Sunday.

"It was a great performance," he said. "I was hoping to have a shorter match, whoever won, just not go over five hours.

"It was always going to be tough against Tomas, he has been an established top-10 player now for the last five or six years and if he's on he can win against anyone on any surface.

"I was aware of his qualities and I was very pleased with my performance."

On the match-up with Ferrer, he added: "He is one of the most respected guys on the tour because he never gives up. He is one of the fittest guys around and I am expecting a long one."

For three of the four sets against Berdych, Djokovic was dominant.

Any doubts over his fitness were dispelled in a blistering start as, crushing winners from every angle, he ripped through the first set in just 28 minutes.

Berdych was shell-shocked but regrouped sufficiently to break early in the second and hold his advantage to 5-4 when he had the chance to serve it out.

Djokovic applied the pressure, having four break point chances, but Berdych stood firm with a backhand winner down the line on the Serbian's third opportunity arguably the shot of the night.

It was to prove as close as Berdych would get as from there he was swamped.

The top seed, aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win three successive Australian Open crowns, raced into a 4-0 third-set lead on his way to re-establishing his advantage.

Berdych did marginally better in the fourth but a solitary break in game three proved enough for Djokovic who moved into his 11th successive grand slam semi-final.

Ferrer capitalised on Nicolas Almagro's fragile temperament to hit back from two sets down and clinch his place in the last four.

Almagro had lost all 12 previous meetings with his Spanish compatriot before today and the mental baggage was apparent when he failed to serve out the match three times - once in the third set and then twice in the fourth.

By the fifth, Almagro was a psychological wreck and it was no surprise that Ferrer duly completed a gutsy 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 victory in three hours and 44 minutes.

"It was a miracle that I won this match," Ferrer said.

"Nicolas had a lot of chances to beat me but I tried to fight for every point - that is my game. I will always try to fight and do my best.

"In the important moments all the players get nervous, it has also happened to me."

Almagro denied he had 'choked' and blamed the defeat on a groin injury suffered in the fourth set tie-break.

"If you're not 100 per cent to play I am not sure if it's mental or not," he said.

"I tried to play my best tennis today and I think I did that.

"But that's not enough to beat David.

"I don't think that it's a mental problem. If I have a mental problem I don't think I would have won the first two sets."

PA

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate