'Obviously hurt': Novak Djokovic's 'classy' nod to Roger Federer after Australian Open win

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter

Defending champion Novak Djokovic paid tribute to his opponent Roger Federer after he powered through to his eighth Australian Open final in straight-sets.

The world No.2 started slowly against the 20-time major winner, trailing 2-5 in the first set, but Djokovic recovered to win 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena in the pair's 50th career meeting.

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Federer entered their semi-final under an injury cloud on Thursday following his epic victory over Tennys Sandgren, but despite hanging in bravely, the 38-year-old was no match for the Serbian star.

Djokovic was all class in his post-match speech, giving credit to Federer for giving his all despite clearly carrying an injury from the last gruelling five-set match.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic (L) pats Switzerland's Roger Federer after his victory during their men's singles semi-final match on day eleven of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 30, 2020. (Photo by DAVID GRAY / AFP)

"Respect to Roger for coming out tonight, he was obviously hurt and wasn't at his best,” he said to Jim Courier.

"I managed to dig my way through and it was important that I won the first set mentally and I was able to relax a little bit after that."

With the Swiss master on the verge of taking surprise one set lead, Djokovic stepped up a gear to silence the pro-Federer crowd with a scintillating tiebreak masterclass.

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After the first set went for more than an hour, the rest of the match only took another 76 minutes.

"It could've definitely gone a different way if he (Federer) got those break points (in the first set)," Djokovic said.

"He started off really well, I was pretty nervous at the beginning.”

In an ominous sign for Austrian Dominic Thiem or German Alexander Zverev, Djokovic has won all seven of his previous finals at Melbourne Park.

A record-breaking eighth Australian Open crown will take Djokovic to 17 major titles, well in sight of Federer on 20 and Rafael Nadal with 19.

It will be the 32-year-old's 26th grand slam decider.

Thiem and Zverev will clash in the other semi-final on Friday night.

With AAP