Australian Open 2019 results: Novak Djokovic dominates Lucas Pouille to advance to third straight Grand Slam final
Djokovic has been on a tear thus far
For Novak Djokovic, the elbow injury that cost him part of his 2017 season is clearly a thing of the past. The No. 1-ranked player won Wimbledon and the US Open last year, and on Thursday he defeated Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 to advance to yet another Australian Open final. Djokovic has six wins in Melbourne in his career, so this is hardly new territory, but given that in his 2017 and 2018 Australian Open appearances he was eliminated in the second and fourth rounds, it's a significant step.
Djokovic looked completely dominant against Pouille, winning on 84 percent of his first serves and 87 percent of his second serves. He broke Pouille's serve seven times, never having his own broken, and he won an insane 83 points to Pouille's 44. It was a texbook Djokovic match, but he doesn't have long to celebrate. His next opponent is his toughest yet.
Djokovic will be going up against Rafael Nadal for his record seventh Australian Open win. He's currently tied with Roger Federer for the most wins in the Open era, and Federer and Roy Emerson when factoring in the amateur era. Djokovic's dominance on the hardcourt is impressive, and this final will be yet another installment in his rivalry with Nadal.
Djokovic has a slight edge in his history with Nadal, winning 27 of those showdowns to Nadal's 25. The last time these two played each other in an Aussie championship was in a 2012, a match that went on for just under six hours before Djokovic ultimately prevailed. Nadal, however, holds the Grand Slam edge at 5-9, something that Djokovic recalls just fine.
"I had some disappointing moments where I lost to him," Djokovic said, via Fox Sports. "I think I lost to him nine times so far in the Grand Slams, and I lost some tough matches in finals and semis in French Open and US Open. I won also some great matches."
He also credits Nadal for some of his success today.
"Those kind of encounters have also made me the player I am today, without a doubt," he continued. "These are the kind of matches that you live for, finals of slams, playing the greatest rivals at their best. What more can you ask for? This is where you want to be."
Djokovic also said something that could prove to be difficult, given Stefanos Tsitsipas' dumbfounded evaluation of his semifinal match against Nadal in which Tsitsipas said Nadal "just has a talent to make you play bad," per Fox Sports.
"I'm going to get out there and obviously try to dictate the play," Djokovic said, via Fox Sports. "But it's easier said than done against Nadal. Just depends how we both start."
Both players have started fast throughout the tournament. Nadal is yet to lose a set, whereas Djokovic has won every first set so far in the tournament. Something will have to give on Sunday.
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