Novak Djokovic clinched a 17th grand slam title and record-extending eighth Australian Open crown with an epic five-set win over Dominic Thiem.

The Serbian required an impressive comeback against Thiem, continuing his dominance in Melbourne courtesy of an enthralling 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 victory after three hours, 59 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic has claimed the title every time he has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, and he maintained that record while closing in on Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19) for most majors won by a man.

The 32-year-old also joined that duo as the only men to win a single major eight times, with Nadal (12 French Open crowns) and Federer (eight at Wimbledon) having also achieved that feat.

Djokovic had been frustrated, particularly after receiving two time violations in a matter of points in the second set and he also called for the trainer in the third, but he found the right answers against an opponent who had beaten him in four of their previous five meetings.

Thiem fell short of a maiden grand slam title, losing a third major final but first away from Roland Garros, as the Austrian 26-year-old faltered late.

The duo exchanged breaks to start, but it was Thiem enduring the greater struggles on serve.

While he battled hard – saving one set point with his aggression in the 10th game – a double fault handed Djokovic the opener.

Needing a response, Thiem found a break to lead 2-1 in the second set, aided by a pair of double faults from a frustrated Djokovic.

Thiem saved a break point in the sixth game, but gave up his advantage in the eighth, when he pulled the trigger on a backhand down the line too early with a shot that was becoming a problem rather than a weapon.

But Thiem broke again in the next game, during which Djokovic received two time violations, served a double fault and committed two sloppy errors before directing words at the chair umpire at the change of ends, none of which distracted his opponent from closing out the set.

Thiem had started to assume control from the baseline, and he took the Djokovic serve in the opening game of the third after the Serbian pushed a backhand down the line wide before incredibly falling 4-0 behind.

Djokovic called the trainer at 4-1 down but there was no denying Thiem, who served out the set while showing some nerves before his opponent left the court.

"Nole! Nole! Nole!" chants rang out early in the fourth set among what was largely a pro-Thiem crowd inside Rod Laver Arena and Djokovic responded, capitalising on a sloppy game from the fifth seed to break for 5-3 before forcing a decider.

Thiem missed two forehands to give up a break to Djokovic in the third game of the fifth set before wasting two break points in the fourth.

He managed a gritty hold to stay in the match in the seventh game but was unable to deny Djokovic, who had no trouble serving it out.

Novak Djokovic is aiming to win a fifth grand slam in seven at the Australian Open on Sunday.

The Serbian faces Dominic Thiem in the final in Melbourne looking to extend his record to eight titles in the tournament and repeat his 2019 triumph.

It is continuing another dominant period for the 16-time grand slam champion, a spell which began at Wimbledon in 2018.

But how does his recent run of success compare to his previous triumphs, as well as those enjoyed by his 'Big Three' rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal?

Federer – 8 in 10, 2005-07

The Swiss great was almost unstoppable for a period beginning at Wimbledon in 2005. From 2003 at the All England Club to the 2010 Australian Open, Federer incredibly won 16 of 27 grand slams, with a couple of separate utterly stunning runs. From Wimbledon 2005 to the 2007 US Open, Federer won eight of the 10 majors and was beaten in the finals of the other two. Only Nadal at the French Open (2006 and 2007) could deny Federer, who enjoyed wins over Andy Roddick (twice), Andre Agassi, Marcos Baghdatis, Nadal (twice), Fernando Gonzalez and Djokovic in deciders during that period. Starting at Wimbledon 2004, Federer also won 10 of 14 majors, but he has just four grand slams since 2011.

Djokovic – 6 in 8, 2014-16

The Serbian star began to make the most of his opportunities, starting from midway through 2014. Heading into that tournament, Djokovic had made 13 grand slam finals but won just six. However, since the Wimbledon final six years ago, he has won 10 major deciders and lost just two. A thrilling five-set final against Federer started the run before he reclaimed his Australian Open title. Stan Wawrinka upset him in the decider in Paris before the beginning of the 'Nole Slam', Djokovic winning four straight majors to hold every grand slam trophy simultaneously. A shock third-round exit to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon in 2016 ended a 30-match winning run at majors for Djokovic, who would have to wait until 2018 for his next grand slam title.

Nadal – 4 in 5, 2010-11

In an extraordinary career, Nadal has won just one Australian Open and two Wimbledon titles, impacting his runs. The Spaniard's best year in terms of major titles was 2010, when he claimed three before adding another at Roland Garros in 2011. Stunned by Robin Soderling in his first French Open loss in 2009, Nadal brushed the Swede aside in the final the following year, kick-starting a run of three straight major wins. Tomas Berdych and Djokovic were beaten in the Wimbledon and US Open deciders respectively, but his bid to hold all four at once was ended in the quarter-finals in Melbourne, where he suffered a hamstring injury and fell to David Ferrer. But, back in Paris, Nadal won a sixth French Open crown.

Novak Djokovic will take what is considered a major advantage into his Australian Open final against Dominic Thiem – an extra day's rest.

The 16-time grand slam champion brushed aside Roger Federer in straight sets on Thursday, a day before Thiem edged out Alexander Zverev in four.

At 32, Djokovic is six years older than Thiem, a player he holds a 6-4 win-loss record over but has lost to in four of their past five meetings.

But an extra day off has seemingly had little impact on the result of Sunday's final, especially in the past decade, when the player with more rest has won five and lost as many deciders.

"I have two days of no match right now, which actually is really good," Serbia's Djokovic said after his win over a hurting Federer.

"It gives me more time to recuperate and gather all the necessary energy for the finals."

Thiem, unsurprisingly, saw the benefits of not having the extra day despite coming off two tough wins over world number one Rafael Nadal and Zverev.

"There are disadvantages but also advantages. I think it's also a little bit of a challenge to have all the time one day off and all of a sudden two," he said.

"Of course, I have less time to regenerate, but with all the adrenaline and everything, it's going to be fine.

"I played two super intense matches against Rafa and now against Sascha [Zverev]. Of course, I'm going to feel it, especially [on Saturday]. But I'm going to have great treatment, easy hit [on Saturday], and then of course try everything to be 100 per cent on Sunday night."

Since 2010, the men with extra rest have won five and lost five finals. Djokovic has won his three, but he has also won all seven of his deciders in Melbourne.

Going further back and the win-loss record for men who played their semi-final a day earlier since 2000 is 11-9, barely an advantage.

Thiem has spent almost six hours longer on court than Djokovic, but in the prime of his career and eyeing a maiden grand slam title, having a day's less rest should seemingly have little impact.

Entering Australian Open final with an extra day's rest since 2000
2019: Rafael Nadal (lost against Novak Djokovic)
2018: Marin Cilic (lost against Roger Federer)
2017: Roger Federer (won against Rafael Nadal)
2016: Novak Djokovic (won against Andy Murray)
2015: Andy Murray (lost against Novak Djokovic)
2014: Stan Wawrinka (won against Rafael Nadal)
2013: Novak Djokovic (won against Andy Murray)
2012: Rafael Nadal (lost against Novak Djokovic)
2011: Novak Djokovic (won against Andy Murray)
2010: Andy Murray (lost against Roger Federer)
2009: Roger Federer (lost against Rafael Nadal)
2008: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (lost against Novak Djokovic)
2007: Roger Federer (won against Fernando Gonzalez)
2006: Marcos Baghdatis (lost against Roger Federer)
2005: Marat Safin (won against Lleyton Hewitt)
2004: Marat Safin (lost against Roger Federer)
2003: Andre Agassi (won against Rainer Schuttler)
2002: Thomas Johansson (won against Marat Safin)
2001: Andre Agassi (won against Arnaud Clement)
2000: Andre Agassi (won against Yevgeny Kafelnikov)
Wins: 11 Losses: 9

Dominic Thiem has shown the highly rated 'Next Gen' the way, though the rest of the Australian Open finalist's generation provides a cautionary tale.

Thiem's rise continues in Melbourne, where he will face Novak Djokovic in the men's singles final on Sunday in his third major decider and first away from the French Open.

But the 26-year-old Austrian sits in a generation alone; more established than the improving 'Next Gen' but still – like all others – chasing Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Denis Shapovalov, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alex de Minaur can learn from Thiem's progression, while Daniil Medvedev, 23, has quickly proven himself.

Zverev, beaten by good friend Thiem in the semi-finals, admitted this week he had been impatient in his pursuit of grand slam success. The German is the world number seven and Melbourne shaped as a breakthrough, a new approach helping the 22-year-old into a first major semi.

Thiem only won his first Tour title at 21, with his next three also coming at ATP 250 level before he took another step by clinching the Mexican Open in February 2016.

A reputation on clay being quickly established, he reached a semi-final at Roland Garros later that year – and another in 2017. Thiem shapes as the successor to Nadal's immovable crown in Paris, falling to the Spanish great in the past two finals.

It has been steady growth, although the improvement on hard courts has been particularly impressive, including a title at Indian Wells last year.

Patiently working, Thiem has risen to be being one win away from a breakthrough major, and his journey can be looked at by what is a supremely talented up-and-coming group.

Zverev won the 2018 ATP Finals, but it is last year's event in London that is set to be looked upon as the moment the 'Next Gen' truly made their move. Tsitsipas and Thiem played out a thrilling final, the former having beaten Federer in a semi and the latter posted wins over Djokovic and the Swiss great in the group stage.

Thiem is the only 26-year-old in the world's top 50 and just one of five in the top 100, joined by Juan Ignacio Londero, Hugo Dellien, Roberto Carballes Baena and Dennis Novak.

He was once a world number two junior and reached the 2011 French Open boys' singles final, falling to Bjorn Fratangelo.

A quick look at that year's boys' singles quarter-finals at all grand slams makes for interesting viewing. Kyle Edmund and Lucas Pouille have made Australian Open semi-finals, Jiri Vesely once reached 35th in the world, Carballes Baena is among them, as is the injury-plagued Jason Kubler and doubles star Mate Pavic.

Before Thiem takes to the court to face Djokovic, Luke Saville – a two-time slam winner as a junior – will play the men's doubles final. A highly rated junior, Saville beat Thiem in the juniors at the Australian Open in 2011 but has struggled to take the step up.

The current 'Next Gen' have already been more impressive and now they have Thiem to follow.

Novak Djokovic will contest his eighth Australian Open final as he eyes a record-extending Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in Melbourne on Sunday.

Defending champion Djokovic faces fifth seed Dominic Thiem in the men's decider after seeing off 20-time grand slam winner Roger Federer.

Thiem – who stunned world number one Rafael Nadal in the previous round – has won the previous two meetings with Djokovic, though he is preparing for his first Australian Open final.

We take a closer look at Djokovic ahead of his showdown with two-time slam runner-up Thiem.

 

Form and results

Djokovic has progressed steadily since dropping a set against tenacious German Jan-Lennard Struff in the opening round. The Serbian star has only lost one set for the entire tournament, barely raising a sweat against Tatsuma Ito, Yoshihito Nishioka, Diego Schwartzman and Milos Raonic. Djokovic survived an onslaught against Federer, who raced out to a 4-1 lead and 40 love in warm conditions on Thursday. The second seed eventually eased past the injury-affected Swiss maestro on Rod Laver Arena.

R1: bt Struff 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 2-6 6-1
R2: bt Ito 6-1 6-4 6-2
R3: bt Nishioka 6-3 6-2 6-2
R4: bt Schwartzman [14] 6-3 6-4 6-4
QF: bt Raonic [32] 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1)
SF: bt Federer [3] 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3

Next up

A surprise finalist, Thiem looms as a big threat to Djokovic. Up until this year, Thiem had never progressed beyond the fourth round at Melbourne Park and was eliminated in the second round in 2019. However, the 26-year-old – who boasts one of the best backhands in the sport – has dazzled in Melbourne, where he slayed 19-time major champion Nadal in a thrilling quarter-final. Thiem, who has lost consecutive French Open finals to Nadal, followed that up with a 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) win over seventh seed Alexander Zverev in sweltering temperatures on Friday. Trailing 6-4 on head-to-head, Thiem has won four of the past five encounters with Djokovic – including twice last year at the ATP Finals and French Open.

What they said

"Dominic won our last match we played against each other, a close one in London. He played a terrific match against Rafa. I watched that. Definitely one of the best players in the world. Deserves to be where he is. It seems like he's improved his game a lot on hardcourts, because his game is more suitable to the slower surfaces. The clay of course being his favourite surface. But winning Indian Wells I think last year, beating Roger in the finals, that probably gave him a lot of confidence that he can win big tournaments on other surfaces, as well."

Dominic Thiem hopes to find the perfect balance between attack and defence against Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final, but accepts it is a fine line.

Thiem booked his spot in a third grand slam final and first in Melbourne by edging Alexander Zverev 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) on Rod Laver Arena on Friday.

The Austrian will face seven-time champion Djokovic in Sunday's final, and goes into that clash on the back of four wins in his past five meetings with the Serbian great.

Thiem, 26, said controlled aggression was a key when taking on Djokovic, who will be playing a record eighth Australian Open men's singles final.

"I think I have to keep a good balance. Of course, I have to risk a lot. I have to go for many shots," he told a news conference.

"At the same time, of course, not too much. That's a very thin line. In the last match against him, hit that line perfectly in London [at the ATP Finals].

"Of course, going to take a look at that match, how I played, and try to repeat it.

"But for sure he's the favourite. I mean, he won seven titles here, never lost a final, going for his eighth one. I'm feeling good on the court. I'm playing great tennis, so try to be at my absolutely best on Sunday."

A two-time French Open runner-up, Thiem's run to the final in Melbourne has come as a surprise, having previously never been beyond the fourth round at the Australian Open.

Considered a bigger threat on clay, Thiem said winning the Indian Wells Masters last year had boosted his confidence.

"First of all, Indian Wells, that victory gave me so much relief and so much confidence because finally got my first Masters 1000 title on hard court," he said.

"I mean, there in Indian Wells in the desert, it's pretty similar to clay. It's perfect for my game, balls bouncing so high.

"Then I think last fall in Asia, then in the indoor season, I made this huge step forward. I really developed my game I think in the right direction.

"I got more aggressive on hard courts, started to serve smarter and to return better. That also gave me a lot of confidence for this new year and for Australia because I told myself, 'If I can be in the finals in London, the ATP Finals, why not as well in a hard-court slam?' Since then I know that I'm also playing very well on the faster surfaces."

Novak Djokovic is satisfied with his form heading into a record eighth Australian Open men's singles final after brushing past Roger Federer.

The Serbian 16-time grand slam champion recovered from a slow start to beat Federer 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3 in their semi-final on Thursday.

Djokovic dropped a set in the opening round but has cruised through since, including beating a hurting Federer in their 50th meeting.

The seven-time champion in Melbourne has already won 12 singles matches this year and is happy with where his game is at ahead of facing either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev in the final on Sunday.

"Yes, I'm pleased with the way I've been feeling and playing," Djokovic told a news conference.

"I thought the ATP Cup went really well for me, I got a lot of hours spent on the court, singles and doubles. It was a great lead-up for the Australian Open.

"Obviously I got a lot of positive energy from that competition. I've dropped only one set so far up to the finals. I have two days of no match right now, which actually is really good. It gives me more time to recuperate and gather all the necessary energy for the finals."

While he savoured Serbia's ATP Cup triumph and has dominated in Melbourne, Djokovic will face a first-time Australian Open finalist in either Thiem or Zverev.

By reaching the final for an eighth time, Djokovic now holds the outright record for the most visits to the title match in the Open era, having previously been tied with Federer on seven appearances.

He holds positive head-to-head records against both Thiem (6-4) and Zverev (3-2), but is wary of the duo.

"Well, Dominic won our last match when we played against each other, a close one in London [at the ATP Finals in November]. He played a terrific match against Rafa [Nadal] last night. I watched that," Djokovic said.

"[He is] definitely one of the best players in the world. Deserves to be where he is. It seems like he's improved his game a lot on hard-courts, because his game is more suitable to the slower surfaces, the clay of course being his favourite surface.

"But winning Indian Wells I think last year, beating Roger in the finals, that probably gave him a lot of confidence that he can win big tournaments on other surfaces, as well.

"Alex didn't start the year very well. I watched his matches. I practised with him in Brisbane during ATP Cup. He wasn't feeling his best on the court, not much confidence.

"It's impressive with the way he has been playing so far in this tournament, building his game, raising the level of tennis that he's been playing. It's his first semi-final at a grand slam in his career, so I'm sure that he is motivated, he's pumped to get at least a step further. It's going to be really a good match to watch."

Roger Federer felt he had just a "three per cent chance" of winning going into his Australian Open semi-final against Novak Djokovic after battling injury.

The Swiss great made a strong start before falling to a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3 loss to Djokovic, who reached a record eighth final in Melbourne on Thursday.

Federer battled a groin injury during an incredible quarter-final win over Tennys Sandgren and took a medical timeout after the first set of his loss to Djokovic.

The 20-time grand slam champion admitted he felt his chances of victory over Djokovic, who has won 27 of their 50 meetings, were slim.

"Look, overall, at the end of the day I guess I'm very happy. I've got to be happy with what I achieved," Federer told a news conference.

"It was the maximum to go to get at this tournament, especially after the [John] Millman and the Sandgren match.

"Today was horrible, to go through what I did. Nice entrance, nice send off, and in between is one to forget because you know you have a three per cent chance to win. You know, got to go for it. You never know.

"But once you can see it coming, that it's not going to work anymore, it's tough. No, look, at the end of the day I'm very happy.

"I think I overall played all right. I know I can play better. At the same time, I also know I can play much worse. With no tournaments beforehand, I think it's a very, very good result."

Federer was optimistic over the injury, saying he wanted to play in a scheduled exhibition match against Rafael Nadal in South Africa on February 7.

A six-time champion in Melbourne, Federer, 38, was unsurprisingly unwilling to guarantee he would be back at the Australian Open, but he was hopeful.

"No idea. Same as last year. You never know what the future holds," he said.

"But especially my age, you don't know. I'm confident. I'm happy how I'm feeling, to be honest. I got through a good, nice training block. No plans to retire.

"From that standpoint, we'll see how the year goes, how everything is with the family. We'll go from there. Of course, I hope to be back."

Novak Djokovic paid tribute to Roger Federer for playing while "obviously hurt" in their Australian Open semi-final on Thursday.

Djokovic reached an outright record eighth Australian Open men's singles final with a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3 victory over Federer in their 50th meeting.

The Serbian star recovered from 1-4 0-40 down in the first set on his way to improving his head-to-head record over Federer to 27-23.

Federer took a medical timeout at the end of the first set, having dealt with a groin injury during his incredible quarter-final win over Tennys Sandgren on Tuesday.

And Djokovic praised his rival for playing through the pain, saying in an on-court interview: "Full respect to Roger for coming out tonight, he was obviously hurt.

"He obviously was hurt and wasn't at his best, even close to his best in terms of movement, respect for coming out and trying his best all the way through."

Djokovic, who started slowly before finding his rhythm, said Federer's injury woes impacted the way he opened the encounter.

"It was probably not exactly the right mindset from my side at the beginning of the match," the 16-time grand slam champion said.

"I was kind of looking more on how he's moving and what he's doing rather than executing my shots in the right way and it resulted with a 1-4 down and 0-40 lead for him.

"I managed to kind of dig my way through, back in the first set and it was very important to win that first set obviously mentally relaxed a little bit after that and could swing through the ball a bit more."

Djokovic will face either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev in his 26th major final.

Novak Djokovic moved into an outright record eighth Australian Open men's singles final with another win over long-time rival Roger Federer on Thursday.

Djokovic recovered from a first-set deficit before recording a 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3 semi-final victory over Federer in hot conditions on Rod Laver Arena in a match lasting two hours and 18 minutes.

A record seven-time champion in Melbourne, the Serbian star proved too good for Federer, 38, in the 50th meeting between the all-time greats, with 27 having now been won by Djokovic.

But it only came after Federer coughed up a 4-1 lead in a first set he should have won, the 20-time grand slam winner – who took a medical timeout after the opener – letting a huge chance slip.

Djokovic, who started slowly, would punish him to move within a win of a 17th major title and eighth in Melbourne, where he has never lost a semi or final, with Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev awaiting.

After saving two break points in the opening game, Federer – who looked sprightly after his groin worry in the incredible quarter-final against Tennys Sandgren – broke for a 2-0 lead with a wonderful backhand pass down the line.

An uncharacteristically sloppy Djokovic would break in the next game before giving up serve once more, sending a backhand wide on break point.

Djokovic dug out of a 0-40 hole when trailing 4-1 and from 0-30 down in the eighth game, those holds proving crucial when he broke to love after a poor ninth game from Federer, who produced four bad errors.

Suddenly, a set Federer looked in complete control of slipped out of his grasp, the 63-minute opener settled after the improving Djokovic played a superb tie-break.

After an off-court medical timeout at the end of the first set, Federer had the greater difficulties on serve throughout the second before Djokovic landed the break at the perfect time.

As "Nole! Nole! Nole!' chants rang out among a crowd largely backing Federer, Djokovic broke serve and took the second set with a cross-court winner following a drop shot from his opponent.


Federer tried to hang in there to begin the third but, in truth, he was causing Djokovic few problems.

Djokovic closed in on victory with a forehand winner for a break and 4-2 lead, a tough hold in the following game helping him past Federer for the fifth time in their past six meetings.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN  
Djokovic [2] bt Federer [3] 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS   
Djokovic – 31/18
Federer – 46/35

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS   
Djokovic – 11/1
Federer – 15/3

BREAK POINTS WON   
Djokovic – 4/11
Federer – 2/7

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE   
Djokovic – 73
Federer – 65

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE   
Djokovic – 73/54
Federer – 66/42

TOTAL POINTS   
Djokovic – 113
Federer – 93

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet for a 50th time in what is a storied rivalry that has repeatedly produced classic matches.

Djokovic leads their head-to-head 26-23 and that stands at 10-6 when the all-time greats have met at grand slams.

It is also 3-1 at the Australian Open and the Serbian, whose 16 grand slam titles are four shy of Federer's 20, will head into Thursday's semi-final in Melbourne as favourite.

Ahead of their meeting, we look at five of the classics they have delivered.

2010 US Open semi-final: Djokovic [3] bt Federer [2] 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5

Flushing Meadows was Federer's playground for five straight years until 2009, when he was stunned by Juan Martin del Potro in the final. To this point, he had dominated Djokovic, too. But the Serbian managed to save two match points in a thrilling five-setter to win in almost four hours in a victory that would – even with Federer only 29 years of age – bring suggestions the Swiss maestro was on the decline.

2011 French Open semi-final: Federer [3] bt Djokovic [2] 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5)

By the time they met at Roland Garros the following year, Djokovic was a heavy favourite after incredibly winning his first 41 matches of 2011, including a second major title at the Australian Open. But Federer would end that run, wagging his finger after his stunning four-set victory. The year would still belong to Djokovic, and not before more drama against Federer.

2011 US Open semi-final: Djokovic [1] bt Federer [3] 6-7 (7-9) 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5

Having recovered from two sets down to force a decider, Djokovic reeled off the final four games and saved two match points to shock Federer, and the way he saved the first lives long in the memory. Djokovic crushed a forehand cross-court return winner that John McEnroe would describe as "one of the all-time great shots", one which even Federer struggled to accept. Djokovic would go on to win his third major of 2011.

2014 Wimbledon final: Djokovic [1] bt Federer [4] 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 5-7 6-4

Djokovic. Federer. All England Club. Wimbledon final. They are words sports fans dream of. Federer was in his first major decider since 2012, while Djokovic had lost his previous three grand slam finals – one to Andy Murray and two to Rafael Nadal. Federer would produce the comeback this time, coming from 5-2 down and saving a match point in the fourth to force a decider. But just as Federer looked the more likely winner, Djokovic stepped up to win a seventh major crown. The pair combined for 143 winners and just 56 unforced errors in a match Djokovic labelled the "best quality grand slam final" he had played in.

2019 Wimbledon final: Djokovic [1] bt Federer [2] 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3)

Fast forward five years and they met again, and they delivered once more on the biggest stage. Federer would be left to rue missed chances after a battle lasting four hours, 57 minutes – the longest singles final in Wimbledon history. Djokovic saved two match points at 8-7 in the fifth set before a match tie-break followed, the first in singles in the tournament's history. Djokovic would go on to win a 16th grand slam title, moving a little closer to Federer's all-time men's record total of 20.

Novak Djokovic insisted he does not feel like he is "dominating" Roger Federer despite not losing a grand slam match against the Swiss in seven and a half years.

Federer has not defeated Djokovic at a major since their Wimbledon semi-final meeting in 2012.

Despite five grand slam wins over Federer since then, four of which have arrived in finals, the Serbian does not feel like he has the upper hand ahead of their meeting in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday.

Djokovic insisted the 38-year-old, who won their previous meeting at the 2019 ATP Finals in London, always remains a huge threat on all surfaces.

Asked if he knew the reason for his winning streak against Federer at the majors, he said: "Not particularly, to be honest. 

"Wimbledon last year, he had two match points, he was one shot away from winning that match. It's not like I've been dominating the match-ups. 

"I've had success against him in grand slams in particular. But Roger is Roger. You know that he's always going to play on such a high level, regardless of the surface. 

"I know that whenever we get a chance to play each other, we understand it takes a big effort and it's required from us to come up with the best game in order to win against each other.

"He loves to play these kind of matches, big rivalries, semis, finals of grand slams.

"I mean, he's probably going to confirm that that's probably the biggest reason why he's still competing, to be able to compete at the grand slams against the best players in the world."

Since dropping a set in the first round against Jan-Lennard Struff, Djokovic has recorded four consecutive straight-sets victories, including Tuesday's 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) quarter-final triumph over Milos Raonic.

The run has followed his star showing at the ATP Cup, where he led his country to victory and beat Rafael Nadal in the final.

Djokovic is in a confident mood ahead of the match with Federer as he sits two wins away from a record eighth Australian Open title.

The second seed said: "I've been feeling well on the court. If I continue playing the way I was throughout the tournament here and also ATP Cup, I've been building. 

"I think as the time passes by, in every match, I have more confidence, I feel better. 

"In the end of the day, this is the court where I had the most success in my career."

Novak Djokovic was amazed to see Roger Federer save seven match points against Tennys Sandgren at the age of 38.

The Serbian, who will meet Federer on Thursday in the Australian Open semi-finals, marvelled at Federer's ability to stay alive in the competition and feels it proves his greatness.

Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in a routine quarter-final victory, while Federer's path in a 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3 win was something out of the ordinary.

"What he did today was really amazing," said Djokovic. "He showed me he's one of the best players of all time.

"I mean, to come back and save seven match points at his age, he's still playing such a great tennis and proving that he deserves to be up there.

"He never gives up. When it matters the most, he's focused and he plays his best tennis. Sandgren had chances. Out of those seven match points, there were five match points where they actually had rallies.

"But credit to Roger. Amazing that he managed to come back. It's not the first time he has done that in his career. That's why he is who he is."

It was pointed out to Djokovic that he had saved six match points in his career against Federer, four across two appearances at the US Open and two in their famous Wimbledon final last year.

But he insisted he could not compare whether that feat was more surprising than the Swiss star surviving seven in the same match on Tuesday.

"I don't know, I can't compare it," he said. "I hope I get to at least one match point in a few days!

"Obviously I have tremendous respect for Roger and everything he has achieved in the sport, definitely one of my two biggest rivals. He's a great fighter.

"I have been saying many times and I'll repeat it again: the matchups against Roger and Rafa [Nadal] have made me the player I am today so I am grateful I have had so many great matches against those guys.

"Hopefully things can come together for me in a positive way on Thursday and I can have a chance to win."

Novak Djokovic was fighting back the tears as he paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after reaching the Australian Open semi-finals.

NBA legend Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, had a close relationship with the 16-time grand slam champion.

Djokovic reached the last four at Melbourne Park with a 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-1) triumph over Milos Raonic on Tuesday.

During his on-court interview with John McEnroe, he found it difficult to maintain his composure when he was asked about Los Angeles Lakers great Bryant, whose daughter Gianna also died in the accident.

"It really caught us by surprise," Djokovic said as he wore a top that included the initials 'KB', a love heart and the basketball great's shirt numbers, eight and 24.

"He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world and I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.

"When I needed some advice and some support, he was there for me."

Djokovic had to stop speaking as he got upset when adding: "He was my mentor, my friend and it is just heartbreaking to see and hear what has happened to him and his daughter…"

A sign of the close relationship between the two sporting greats was highlighted when Djokovic had discussed Bryant at length shortly before the accident when he spoke to the media ahead of beating Diego Schwartzman in the previous round.

The Serbian had said the basketball star was a crucial inspiration when he endured a period of poor form and problems off the court in 2017 and 2018 when he was recovering from an elbow injury.

Djokovic had explained: "I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me.

"I was dropping in the rankings and then having to work my way up. He was one of the people who was really there for me.

"He was there to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I'll be back.

"I'm very grateful to him for being there for me, for being very supportive. I love Kobe – who doesn't? He's an amazing guy and one of the best basketball players and athletes of all time."

Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of Milos Raonic at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Raonic became the fourth player to suffer 10 losses to Djokovic without once beating the Serbian star after his defeat on Rod Laver Arena.

The Canadian joined Gael Monfils, Jeremy Chardy and Andreas Seppi on Djokovic's list of opponents he has well and truly dominated on the ATP Tour.

We take a look at the four's less-than-fantastic record.

 

GAEL MONFILS (0-16)

The exciting Frenchman has a game to beat most players, but clearly not Djokovic. Monfils has had his chance on every surface and fallen on every occasion. He did beat Djokovic when they met at a futures tournament in Italy in 2004 but, at ATP and grand slam level, it has been one-sided. Monfils has had his moments, with only eight of the 16 ending in straight sets, but he has never been able to get over the line, beginning at the 2005 US Open and more recently at this year's ATP Cup.

JEREMY CHARDY (0-13)

Another Frenchman, Chardy has been in an entirely one-sided match-up since 2009. Incredibly, all 13 of Djokovic's wins have come in straight sets, even when Chardy has been ranked as high as 25 at Wimbledon in 2013. Djokovic has been ranked in the top four in 12 of these matches and never had any problems against Chardy, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in 2013.

ANDREAS SEPPI (0-12)

Seppi has come close to upsetting Djokovic previously, but this is just another match-up that suits the 16-time grand slam champion. The Italian journeyman likes to sit behind the baseline, a position on the court from which few can match it with Djokovic. Since their first meeting in 2006, Djokovic has won nine of their 12 matches in straight sets and survived a gigantic scare in another. That came at the 2012 French Open, when Seppi won the first two sets before falling to the eventual runner-up.

MILOS RAONIC (0-10)

Raonic's biggest strength – his serve – may be a huge advantage in most matches, but rarely when he is taking on arguably the best returner in the sport's history. That has proven to be the case, although four of his 10 losses to Djokovic have come on clay. Since 2013, Raonic has lost eight of the meetings in straight sets, while eight of the 26 sets between them have gone to tie-breaks, seven of those won by Djokovic. Unlike some of the others on this list, the 29-year-old Canadian may get a chance to end the unwanted record.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.