Australian Open 2019, highlights: Novak Djokovic sets up final against Rafael Nadal after semi-final demolition of Lucas Pouille

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Australian Open 2019, highlights: Novak Djokovic sets up final against Rafael Nadal after semi-final demolition of Lucas Pouille
  • 15:52 (IST)

    Thank you for joining us today!

    We'll be back tomorrow for the women's singles final between Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova. See you then!

  • 15:50 (IST)

    Novak Djokovic sets up final showdown with Rafael Nadal

  • 15:48 (IST)

    Novak Djokovic storms into the final!

    Djokovic: It was definitely the best match I ever had on this court. Everything worked according to my plan and I played my best tonight. Lucas had a good tournament and he can definitely be a top-10 player. This was his first semi-final and there will be more to come in the future. 

    On his comeback from injury: It was highly unlikely 12 months ago that I would be here today. I always had plenty of belief in myself and self-belief is something that always prevails. 

    On playing the replay of his epic 2012 final against Nadal: That would be a match I'd buy a ticket for. We have different rules this year with the super tiebreak so it won't go that long. 

  • 15:41 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2. Game, set and match, Novak Djokovic.

    Pouille wins the first point with a powerful crosscourt forehand winner only to overcook it on the next point. He then volleys long and nets a forehand to give Djokovic two matchpoints. He saves one after forcing Djokovic to send his forehand wide. He nets his backhand to send Djokovic to a final showdown against Rafael Nadal. 

  • 15:36 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 5-2*

    Djokovic powers through another service game. Again. Holds to love. Again.

  • 15:34 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, *4-2

    Pouille responds with a love-hold of his own. 

  • 15:32 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 4-1*

    The World No 1 consolidates the break with a love-hold. he's now two games away from a place in the final.

  • 15:29 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, *3-1

    Pouille starts his service game with a serve and volley. Djokovic responds with a backhand winner. At 30-30, Pouille smacks in a powerful backhand winner. Djokovic gets to deuce with a deep backhand which Pouille can't return. Djokovic gets a breakpoint and converts it. 

  • 15:24 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 2-1*

    Djokovic smacks in a couple of crisp forehand winners as he holds to love.

  • 15:21 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, *1-1

    Pouille holds to 30. Cheers and whistles ring around Rod Laver Arena.

  • 15:19 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 1-0*

    Pouille nicks two points off Djokovic's serve. The Serb gets the hold though.

  • 15:17 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2, *0-0

    Take a look at the stats from the second set.

  • 15:15 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 6-2. Novak Djokovic clinches the second set.

    Pouille held on as long as he could but couldn't stop Djokovic from breaking him and winning the second set. Yesterday, Nadal took an hour and 48 minutes to beat Tsitsipas. Djokovic has won two sets already in less than an hour. 

  • 15:06 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 5-2*

    A big second serve from Djokovic gets him to 30-0. On the next point, he does manage to get his forehand volley over the net and seals the hold to love.

  • 15:04 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, *4-2

    Djokovic smacks in a powerful backhand return to get to 15-15. He suffers a lapse in concentration as he nets an easy volley at the net. Pouille is relieved to get the hold after Djokovic overcooks his backhand pass. 

  • 15:00 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 4-1*

    A quick love-hold from Djokovic gives him the fifth game.

  • 14:58 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, *3-1

    Two big aces from Pouille takes him to 30-15. A long forehand from Pouille gets Djokovic to 30-30. The Frenchman goes down a breakpoint after he fails to get a backhand passing shot to the other side and a double fault gives Djokovic the break. 

  • 14:52 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 2-1*

    A fiery backhand winner down the line gets Pouille a point off Djokovic. Djokovic overcooks his running forehand at 40-15 but he gets the hold with a smash to Pouille's body. 

  • 14:49 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, *1-1

    Cheeky from Pouille there. Plays a delicate drop shot when Djokovic was expecting a crosscourt backhand. The Serb can't get his feet sorted and stumbles to the floor. Brilliant from Pouille on the next point as he smacks in a vicious passing shot, one which he used to good effect against Raonic. A drop shot-forehand winner finally gets him his first game of the match. A huge cheer goes up inside Rod Laver Arena. 

  • 14:45 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, 1-0*

    Another good service game from Djokovic. He gets the hold to 15. The pressure is on Pouille to hold his serve now. 

  • 14:43 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0, *0-0

    Take a look at the stats from the first set.

  • 14:42 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 6-0. Novak Djokovic wins the first set!

    Djokovic smacks a backhand winner off Pouille's second serve but there is hardly any applause from the crowd who want to see a contest. Pouille fires in an ace down the T. He serves to Djokovic's body on the next point but the Serb contorts his body to return a backhand winner down the line. Another backhand winner gives him double setpoint. He clinches the set at the second time of asking. This is brutal from the World No 1. He takes only 23 minutes to wrap up the first set. 

  • 14:36 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 5-0*

    Oh dear! Another love-hold for Djokovic and Pouille is in danger of being dished a bagel in the first set.

  • 14:33 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille *4-0

    Good serve out wide from Pouille to start the game but he commits a double fault on the next point. A serve down the middle sets up a backhand winner for Pouille but Djokovic replies on the next point with a blistering forehand return. He gets a breakpoint which Pouille saves with a powerful serve to Djokovic's backhand. However, Djokovic gets the break at the second time of asking. This is not looking good for Pouille.

  • 14:27 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 3-0*

    Djokovic targets Pouille's backhand with his serves to win two points and goes 40-0 up with an ace. He grabs the hold with another serve to Pouille's backhand. 

  • 14:25 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille *2-0

    Pouille gives away points with a couple of unforced errors and he faces a double breakpoint after his forehand hits the tape and bounces back in. A 205km/h ace and a service winner gets him to deuce. Excellent from the Frenchman. A 24-shot rally is ended by a brilliant forehand winner down the line from Djokovic. Pouille concedes the break with a double fault.

  • 14:20 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille 1-0*

    Djokovic starts the match with an ace out wide. On the next point, Pouille hammers at Djokovic's backhand before hitting a forehand winner. He takes a 15-30 lead with a volley but Djokovic levels the score with a good serve out wide. He gets a gamepoint with another ace but nets his forehand to make it 40-40. He wins the next two points to get the hold.

  • 14:16 (IST)

    Djokovic vs Pouille​ *0-0

    Novak Djokovic to serve.

    Ready? Play! 

  • 14:10 (IST)

    Novak Djokovic vs Lucas Pouille

  • 14:01 (IST)

    Novak Djokovic vs Lucas Pouille

    Djokovic holds the record for most Australian Open titles with Australian legend Roy Emerson and rival Roger Federer with six each. The Serb will be gunning to make it to his first final in Melbourne since he won the title in 2016. He is the overwhelming favourite to book his play in Sunday's final.

    On the other side of the court if Lucas Pouille who is playing in his first Major semi-final. His previous best was when he reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2016. But what makes the 24-year-old's semi-final run special is that he never made it past the first round in Melbourne the previous five time he played here. Should he beat Djokovic, he would become the first Frenchman to reach a Grand Slam final since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached the 2008 Australian Open final.

  • 13:44 (IST)

    Amelie Mauresmo leads rare breed of female coaches making an impact in Melbourne

    It is one of the rare occasions, if not the first, where two of the eight semi-finalists (men and women) have female head coaches. While Conchita Martinez and Rennae Stubbs have been instrumental in 'Ace Queen' Karolina Pliskova's best run at the major in Melbourne, Amelie Mauresmo has helped Lucas Pouille harness that talent and reach his first ever major semis. Deepti Patwardhan writes on the 'rare breed' of female coaches in tennis.

  • 13:38 (IST)

    With renewed love for tennis, Frenchman Lucas Pouille set to test mighty Novak Djokovic in semi-final

    For Pouille, the last few years have not been particularly easy. Only a few years ago, the young Frenchman could be seen in hitting practice with Roger Federer, but this year, the 24-year-old started his season in what can only be described as poor fashion. Seeded sixth at the Sydney International, Pouille tumbled out in straight sets in the first round to Andrey Rublev, prior to which he played the team tennis Hopman Cup - where he lost all three of his singles rubbers. Anuradha Santhanam writes on Pouille's journey to the semi-final.

  • 13:28 (IST)

    Hello and welcome to the LIVE coverage of the semi-finals of the 2019 Australian Open. On Thursday, Rafael Nadal stormed into the final with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. The last men's singles semi-final takes place today with World No 1 Novak Djokovic taking on 28th seed Lucas Pouille for the opportunity to face Nadal in the final on Sunday.

Preview:  There's only one main draw singles match on Day 12. World No 1 ranked Novak Djokovic's semi-final against No 28 Lucas Pouille. Six-time champion Djokovic wants the record for most Australian Open men's singles titles to himself — he shares the mark with Roger Federer and Roy Emerson.

In his favour at the pointy end of this tournament, he's never lost a semi-final at Melbourne Park. Each time he has won quarter-final here, he has gone on to win the title. He won his first major at the 2008 Australian Open, then won three straight Australian titles from 2011-13 and another pair in 2015-16.

The 14-time major winner was hampered by injuries for 18 months before returning to peak form in 2018 to pick up the titles at Wimbledon and the US Open. To say he's a hot favourite against Pouille is an understatement.

Djokovic has history when it comes to streaks: He already has won all four majors in succession, although not quite the Grand Slam — he held all four major titles from 2015 Wimbledon to the 2016 French Open.

Pouille, though, appears to be capable of anything since he hired Amelie Mauresmo as coach two months ago. He hadn't won a match in his five previous trips to Melbourne Park. Now he's on a five-match winning roll at the Australian Open, surpassing his previous best run at a major (consecutive quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2016) with his victory over Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.

Djokovic got a relatively easy run in the last eight when Kei Nishikori retired with injury while trailing 6-1, 4-1. The 31-year-old Serb noted his decade-long run of glory in Australia. "I've had plenty of success here. That has helped to kick-start the season in a great fashion ... served as a great confidence boost."

The winner will play 17-time major winner Rafael Nadal, who beat 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Thursday night.

With inputs from AP

Updated Date: Jan 25, 2019 16:21:41 IST