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Djokovic felt 'divine' during sublime Australian Open semi-final victory over Lucas Pouille

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 25 Jan 2019
  • Novak Djokovic advanced to the Australian Open final with a sublime 6-0 6-2 6-2 victory over Lucas Pouille
  • Djokovic will take on Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final
Novak Djokovic. (Photo by SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

World No. 1, Novak Djokovic says he felt 'divine' during his Australian Open semi-final victory over Frenchman, Lucas Pouille, as the Serbian advanced to his seventh Australian Open final.

Djokovic defeated Pouille 6-0 6-2 6-2 in just 83 minutes to set up a meeting with great rival, Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final.

It was a near perfect performance from the 14-time Grand Slam champion, who struck 24 winners and committed just five unforced errors, while he dropped just eight points on his serve, winning over 80% of points on both his first and second serves.

Unsurprisingly, the 31-year-old was highly pleased with performance, and even suggested that he might have been existing in a different realm during the 83-minute contest.


"...this is definitely one of the best matches I've played on Rod Laver Arena in my career", the Serbian said. "Yeah, you just happen to be in that zone that we all strive for... You don't need to think too much. I guess you're driven by some force that takes over you and you feel divine, you feel like in a different dimension. It's quite an awesome feeling that we all try to reach and stay in".

Indeed, Djokovic barely put a foot wrong against Pouille, pinning the Frenchman behind the baseline with the depth and precision of his groundstrokes, and finding corners and the lines with his finishing shots. He seemed to have all the time in the world to do whatever he wanted to do, and looked like he still had plenty more in reserve. Beyond the form he showed, Djokovic would have been delighted with not having to spend so much time and energy on court, ahead of a potentially lengthy final against Nadal. The world No. 1 was on court for a cumulative 2 hrs and 12 minutes in his quarter final and semi-final victories over Kei Nishikori (via retirement) and Pouille.

Pouille could have done a few things better on Friday, especially his serving, which was at 46% in the first set and 54% for the match, but it's tough to imagine that would have made much of a difference. He simply ran into the best player in the world at the pinnacle of his game.

"when he's playing like this, he's the best in the world for sure", said the vanquished Pouille.  "when he doesn't make any mistake, he's moving so well, he's coming back from defense to offense, yeah, I think he's playing perfectly good. I'm not sure, but I think there is a lot of chance that he's the best player in the world when he's playing like this".


While Djokovic did not encounter much difficulty against Pouille, Nadal, in Sunday's final, will put the world No. 1 under more pressure, and he may need to reach that divine realm again if he is to take down Nadal, given the way the great Spaniard has been playing. So, can he reproduce that performance, or possibly play better?

“It's probably the biggest challenge, I think, is how to repeat that, how to stay there for as long as you possibly can”, Djokovic said. “Again, it depends on how you feel that day, who is across the net, various things". 
“It's an individual sport, so everything really depends on you, how you emotionally cope with all these things. Sometimes you feel more anxious, nervous because who is across the net, occasion, or maybe something tenses up in your body and you're not striking the ball as smoothly”. 
“It really takes a long time to get to that stage or phase where you have so much confidence and everything flows, but it takes such little time to lose it. That's why we all are very committed and very aware that professionalism really gets you to that state of mind and play where everything flows”.

Djokovic did not guarantee that he and Nadal will reach their best levels simultaneously on Sunday- he can't possibly guarantee that- but he did reassure us of what we already knew, that the two greats will 'give absolutely everything out on the court'.

Djokovic vs Nadal is live from Melbourne on Sunday, 27 January from 7:30pm local time/ 8:30am GMT

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Djokovic felt 'divine' during sublime Australian Open semi-final victory over Lucas Pouille

Novak Djokovic says he felt 'divine' during his Australian Open semi-final victory over Frenchman, Lucas Pouille, as the Serbian advanced to his seventh Australian Open final.

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