The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

January 24, 2013

Azarenka eludes chokehold, gains Australian final

(Continued)

"I cannot remember the last time I played so well," Djokovic said. "I've played many great matches, but this one stands out. Hopefully, I can play the same level on Sunday."

He played confidently in the first two sets, and was sublime in the third. Even Ferrer, who has now lost five Grand Slam semifinals and never reached a championship match, was surprised.

After hitting a forehand a fraction wide of the line and losing his challenge in a review, Ferrer double-faulted to give Djokovic match point. The errors were a measure of just how much pressure Djokovic was applying.

Right after his semifinal, Djokovic started playing mind games leading to the final.

"Federer-Murray, when they're playing it's always very close," he said, confirming he'd be closely watching the match. "I wouldn't give the role of the favorite to either of them. I expect to enjoy it. Whoever I play against, I'm going to be ready."

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