Melbourne: Novak Djokovic continued Friday his quest for a record seventh Australian Open crown by swatting aside French 28th seed Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a final against Rafael Nadal.
It was a flawless display on Rod Laver Arena by the World No.1 who moves into a first Melbourne decider since 2016.
“It is definitely one of the best matches I’ve ever had on this court, definitely,” said Djokovic, who hit 24 winners and had just five unforced errors. “You know, everything worked the way I imagined it before the match and even more so.”
Djokovic will face second seed Nadal in a 53rd career meeting and eighth in the final of a Slam.
In 2012 the pair contested the longest Grand Slam final in terms of time at the Australian Open when Djokovic edged an epic battle 7-5 in the fifth set after five hours and 53 minutes.
Djokovic, in his 34th Grand Slam semifinal, took just 83 minutes to outclass his regular practice partner Pouille, who was appearing in his first.
The 14-time Grand Slam title winner was fresh because quarterfinal opponent Kei Nishikori had quit after 51 minutes and he jumped all over the World No. 31 right from the start.
The Serb ran Pouille ragged so effectively that he dished out a dreaded 6-0 ‘bagel’ in a first set that lasted just 21 minutes.
Pouille held his first service game of the second set to a huge ovation from the centre court fans, but it was a brief respite as Djokovic, a picture of precision on serve and return, would not allow him any chance to get back into the match.
Nadal also had allowed his young Greek opponent Stefanos Tsitsipas to win just six games on the way to the final in an hour and 46 minutes, Thursday.
Djokovic made that look pedestrian, allowing Pouille only four games and taking 23 minutes less. to reach his first Melbourne final since 2016, when he won his sixth title.
Both players will be chasing milestones when they meet Sunday. A win for Nadal will see him become the first player in the Open era to win all four Grand Slam titles twice, while victory for Djokovic will take him clear of six-time Melbourne winners Roger Federer and Roy Emerson.