Djokovic expects ‘great’ semi-final

Novak Djokovic expects another great match when he faces Roger Federer for the 45th time in the Australian Open semi-finals in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The world number one booked his place in the last four of the year’s first grand slam event with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Kei Nishikori, while Federer advanced after a 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 defeat of Tomas Berdych.

Speaking to the media after his victory over the Japanese ace, the defending champion was full of praise for the 17-time grand slam champion.

“We keep playing each other in nearly every big tournament,” Djokovic said.

“You don’t need to spend words on his achievements – he is a great champion and someone I have a lot of respect for. It will be a great match.”

Djokovic and Federer met eight times during what was a highly successful year for the Serb in 2015. He triumphed on five occasions in meetings with Federer, including in the finals at Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.

Irrespective of Djokovic’s dominance of the men’s game in recent times, he was full of praise for the 34-year-old Federer and his ability to reinvent himself on the court.

“He’s trying lately to come to the net more, kind of shorten up the rallies,” Djokovic continued.

“He definitely has the game for that. He’s got a great variation from the backhand side with the slice, short slice. He’s got great defense, amazing offense. He’s very complete.

“He puts constant pressure on the opponent. You have to be aware at all times. You got to be tough. You got to be concentrated.

“I think his backhand is better than it was maybe five, six years ago. So, you know, he’s playing some terrific tennis, as I said, on the hard court. This is going to be a big challenge for both of us.”

Of the previous 44 meetings between Djokovic and Federer, both have won on 22 occasions.

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