Friday, January 25, 2019

Djokovic demolishes Pouille, will face Nadal for title

Novak Djokovic crushed Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in the Australian
Open semifinals. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Novak Djokovic set up a rematch of an epic battle with a near-flawless performance today.
   The top-ranked Djokovic made only five unforced errors in a 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 annihilation of 28th-seeded Lucas Pouille of France in the Australian Open semifinals in Melbourne. The match lasted all of 1 hour, 23 minutes.
   Djokovic, 31, will meet archrival Rafael Nadal, 32, for the title on Sunday at 12:30 a.m. California time (ESPN).
   "I would definitely buy a ticket," Djokovic cracked after disposing of Pouille.
   Djokovic outlasted Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in the 2012 Australian Open final. At 5 hours, 53 minutes, it remains the longest Grand Slam title match in history.
   "Once-in-a-lifetime experience," Djokovic recalled, "and hopefully the outcome can be the same for me."
  Djokovic is 27-25 overall and 3-4 in major finals against Nadal. The 2012 marathon is their only meeting in the Australian Open final.
   Nadal has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, second behind Roger Federer's 20. Djokovic has captured 14, including the last two, to tie with Pete Sampras for third place,
   Six of Djokovic's major crowns have come in the Australian Open, a record he shares with Federer and Roy Emerson.
   Nadal is 1-3 in Australian Open finals, having won in 2009 and lost in 2012, 2014 and 2017.
   Unseeded Samantha Stosur of Australia and Zhang Shuai of China won the women's doubles title, beating second seeds and defending champions Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-3, 6-4.
   Stosur, 34, reached two singles semifinals (2009 and 2010) and two singles quarterfinals (2006 and 2008) in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. The tournament moved to San Jose last year as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.

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