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Djokovic puts out Federer


rhondathompson, [email protected]

Djokovic puts out Federer

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MELBOURNE – An inspired Novak Djokovic shocked defending champion Roger Federer in the Australian Open semi-finals yesterday to leave the Swiss without a Grand Slam title for the first time in eight years.
The third-seeded Serbian overpowered the four-times champion 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 in three hours of intense, high-quality tennis to reach a second Melbourne final, where he will play either Briton Andy Murray or Spaniard David Ferrer.
Although Federer and Djokovic both cautioned against the pronouncement of the end of an era, Li Na marked a small shift eastwards in the balance of power in the women’s game by becoming the first Chinese to reach a Grand Slam singles final.
The Chinese roared back from the brink of defeat to upset world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 and set up a clash with Kim Clijsters who overpowered Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-3.
Djokovic aggressively took the game to Federer from the outset, moving the second seed around the court and looking to finish him off with his powerful forehand.
It worked a treat in a tight first set, which the Serbian secured 7-3 in the tiebreak, but Federer mixed up his game to regain the initiative and take a 5-2 lead in the second.
Federer then reverted to his earlier tactics and it backfired badly as Djokovic, upping the aggression even further and darting athletically along the baseline, stormed back to win five straight games.
Djokovic, roared on by a noisy contingent of fellow Serbs, held off a Federer fight back with a thumping ace to save a break point before winning the contest with another big serve which the Swiss could only hit into the net.
“It was a great performance . . . one of the best definitely,” said Djokovic, who won his only major title at Melbourne Park in 2008.
“I want to win it again. I believe I can. Hopefully, I can pull up the best tennis.”
After world No.1 Rafa Nadal’s injury-hit exit on Wednesday, Federer’s departure meant a first Grand Slam final without the dominant duo since the Melbourne tournament three years ago.
Federer, who along with Nadal has claimed 21 of the last 23 Grand Slam titles, said it would be wholly premature to view the 23-year-old Djokovic’s victory as a passing of the torch.
“They say that very quickly, let’s talk in six months again,” said the 29-year-old, who was last without a Grand Slam title back in 2003, before he won the first of his 16 at Wimbledon.
“I’m playing well.
I just ran into a player who was a bit better than me tonight.”
Li sprayed errors around the court for most of the first two sets against Wozniacki and the top seed grabbed a match point at 5-4 in the second.
That brought the 28-year-old Chinese to life and she saved it before breaking back and, finding her range with her low, hard groundstrokes, evened up the contest on a Wozniacki double fault.
“After I saved the match point, I was thinking like, ‘Okay now a chance’,” said Li, who later blamed her sluggish start on her husband’s snoring. (Reuters)

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