Djokovic into eighth Australian Open final

Oliver Caffrey
Novak Djokovic cruised into the Australian Open final with a straight sets win over Roger Federer

Defending champion Novak Djokovic has powered through to his eighth Australian Open final after taking care of Roger Federer 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.

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.

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

In Djokovic's last four tiebreakers against Federer, including three during his epic win in last year's Wimbledon final, he hasn't made an unforced error.

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.

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

"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."

Federer said he had a "three per-cent chance" to win and was beaten by a better player on the night.

"I was playing with nothing to lose, obviously," Federer said.

"I was just trying to take big cuts at the ball, trying to keep the rallies to a minimal, make sure I keep him off guard.

"I think I returned really well in the beginning.

"With no tournaments beforehand, I think it's a very, very good result (to reach the semi-finals)."

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 seventh seed Zverev will clash in the other semi-final on Friday night.

Zverev is in the final-four for the first time at a slam, while fifth seed Thiem is hoping to breakthrough for his maiden major title after losing to Nadal at the last two French Open finals.