Tennis news - Novak Djokovic destroys Pouille in three brutal sets to set up Nadal showdown in final
Novak Djokovic was at his imperious best to dismantle Lucas Pouille 6-0 6-2 6-2 in the Australian Open semi-final to set up a meeting with Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic is still on track for a record seventh Grand Slam title in Melbourne as he booked his place in Sunday's final against Nadal - a repeat of the marathon final in 2012 - in what promises to be an eagerly-awaited contest befitting of the occasion.
After dropping just four games, he said on court afterwards: "It's definitely one of the best matches I've ever had on this court.
" Everything worked the way I imagined it and even more so. It was a tough one for Lucas, but he had a great tournament and I wish him all the best for the rest of the season. "
"He has the quality to be a top 10 player, definitely. This was his first Grand Slam semi so he will get a l lot more of these matches, he could see the weight of expectation is different.
"It was highly unlikely 12 months ago I would be where I am today, but I have plenty of belief in myself and I think this is something that always prevails. I've always relied on my qualities and trusted that the process will pan out how I wanted."
Frenchman Pouille, who had never faced Djokovic before, had made it through to the last four of a slam for the first time but was left helpless in the face of such a brilliant performance. The narrative at the start of the tournament was supposed to be about the next generation making their mark, but Djokovic and Nadal conceded just 10 games in the semi-finals between them.
The considerable consolation is that the stage is now set for another chapter in one of the great tennis rivalries, and their first slam final since the 2014 French Open. Djokovic takes a 27-25 lead into the contest having won their last meeting in typically epic fashion in the last four at Wimbledon last summer.
The last time they met here, meanwhile, in the final in 2012, Djokovic won after five hours and 53 minutes in the longest slam final in history.
"That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” added Djokovic. "Hopefully the outcome can be the same for me.”
The number one seed completed a first-set bagel in just 23 minutes as Pouille's 10 unforced errors were clinically added to by 11 winners from the Serbian. Pouille rallied at the start of the second set but was broken in his second service game after a double fault placed Djokovic in a commanding position.
Cheers greeted every game won by the unfancied Frenchman, with the crowd desperate to see a contest, but a love hold from Djokovic meant Pouille had been unable to return nine consecutive points on his opponent's serve. He duly tied up the second set despite giving Pouille two points as another attempted winner was sent wide.
Djokovic completed a brutal beating when Pouille was broken in his second service game of the third set, and a tired backhand into the net from the number 28 seed as he looked to keep his hopes alive at 30-40 completed the rout.