Sat, Jan 26, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Djokovic trounces Federer

AFP , MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Serbia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand return to Roger Federer during their Australian Open men's semi-final singles match at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday.

PHOTO AFP

Serbian young gun Novak Djokovic ended defending champion Roger Federer's record run of 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals by powering into the Australian Open decider yesterday.

Third-seeded Djokovic confirmed his status as Federer's heir apparent with a tense 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) win in 2 hours, 28 minutes and will face unseeded French sensation Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in tomorrow's final.

It will be the 20-year-old Serb's second consecutive Grand Slam final after losing to Federer in last year's US Open.

For the Swiss great, it was his first loss at a Grand Slam since going down to world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the 2005 French Open and ended his 19-match unbeaten run at the Australian Open.

"It's amazing, an indescribable feeling to beat the No. 1 player of the world, probably one of the best players this sport has ever had, in straight sets," Djokovic said. "I'm very, very proud of myself."

Djokovic has advanced to the final without dropping a set in his six matches and stretched his winning streak on hardcourt to 10 matches.

It was the 20-year-old Serb's second win over the Swiss in seven matches and his first at a Grand Slam.

Federer broke Djokovic's serve in the seventh game when the Serb's backhand was wide, but he broke back as Federer was serving for the set.

Two volley errors cost the Swiss top seed and the youngster broke Federer a second time to take the opening set in 45 minutes.

It was tight, but Federer's greater number of errors, 14-10, was his undoing against the pressing Djokovic, who took a set off Federer for the first time in three Grand Slam meetings.

Federer came under increasing pressure in the second set and went down a break in the fourth game when Djokovic came up with a marvellous running backhand to pick up a sliced volley for a winner.

Djokovic pumped his chest in jubilation on winning the point and the break.

The Swiss again fell behind two break points in his next service game and Djokovic claimed it with a cracking forehand on the line to lead 5-1.

But Federer broke back with a floating backhand return on his third break point.

Djokovic was put under pressure as he attempted to serve out for the second set and won a tense service game on his second set point with an ace.

The third seed fought his way out of three break points in his opening service game of the third set and put Federer under renewed pressure with four break points in the third, but the Swiss grimly held on.

The final set went into a tiebreaker and the Serb claimed it on his first match point for a career defining victory.

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