Now who's Djoking?

Serb re-emerges from the shadows in Melbourne

By Elliot Ball - @ballell   Last updated: 29th January 2011  

Now who's Djoking?

Form horse: Djokovic demolished Federer in straight sets

But the Serb's 7-6 7-5 6-4 triumph over the sport's leading slam collector was as emphatic as it was ruthless - and it's daring this writer to suggest it was a performance of a champion. Sorry Murray supporters.

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Roger Federer's exit at the hands of Novak Djokovic has paved the way for Andy Murray's maiden grand slam glory, or has it? Skysports.com's Elliot Ball ponders.

Djokovic reached the final of the Australian Open on Thursday after recording a straight-sets win over the defending champion, raising hopes that the British number one can at last claim one of the four coveted trophies in tennis.

But the Serb's 7-6 7-5 6-4 triumph over the sport's leading slam collector was as emphatic as it was ruthless - and it's daring this writer to suggest it was a performance of a champion. Sorry Murray supporters.

The third seed out-hit and outplayed the Swiss maestro and has now registered back-to-back wins over the world number two in successive semi-finals. He advances to the fourth grand slam final of his career.

Djokovic's previous victory over Federer - an epic five-setter at last year's US Open - took its toll and, in the final, world number one Rafael Nadal was able to brush him aside with relative ease and add the missing piece to his trophy cabinet.

Murray-mania

But now, world number three Djokovic has relinquished just one set en route to moving within touching distance of a second major where he will meet either fifth-seeded Murray or Nadal's conqueror, David Ferrer, in Sunday's showpiece.

With Federer and Nadal both unable to reach a grand slam final for the first time in three years - interestingly when Djokovic claimed his solo success - Murray-mania is sure to reach fever pitch before the Scot hits a ball in Ferrer's direction.

Indeed Murray has been presented with his best chance to end his duck, not least because Djokovic has eliminated the man who has denied the British hope in his two runner-up shows thus far.

If Murray can overcome Spanish seventh seed Ferrer in Friday's second semi-final, many will claim the title is there for the taking, but another 23-year-old stands in the way of the Dunblane-born performer's destiny.

Djokovic had been written off by pundits and fans alike against Federer - but not by Murray who predicted the third seed would advance.

Patriotic pressure

Djokovic's fondest memories on a tennis court lie at Melbourne Park, the scene of his first major when he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and the Belgrade right-hander will be keen to remind the winner of Friday's match of that fact

But one cannot end this piece without applying some kind of patriotic pressure on Murray.

Should the Scot secure a third berth in a major final, he can take confidence in that he has beaten Djokovic in their last three meetings - all straight sets and all on the same surface as in Melbourne.

Adding to that, Murray has won both encounters of football the pair have played while Down Under and suddenly this scribe begins to believe!

The floor's all yours Andy, let's go...

Follow me on Twitter @ballell

Comments (1)

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Niall Canny says...

I hope he does it, has a great opportunity avoiding roger and rafa even if fed is starting on a downward spiral. He definately has the game, if he can take it to five sets Novak always starts to fatique, so Andy don't Choke!

Posted 15:26 28th January 2011

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