Novak Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal in a mouthwatering Australian Open final following an imperious straight-sets demolition of Lucas Pouille.
The world number one barely put a foot wrong on Rod Laver Arena on Friday, producing a masterclass to crush first-time grand slam semi-finalist Pouille 6-0 6-2 6-2.
Djokovic, aiming to become the only man to win the first major of the year seven times, took just an hour and 23 minutes to disdainfully end Pouille’s unexpected run at Melbourne Park.
The top seed made only five unforced errors in a relentless performance to set up another blockbuster showdown with Nadal on Sunday, when he will go in search of a third consecutive major title and a 15th of his incredible career.
Frenchman Pouille was given a brutal lesson by a fresh-looking Djokovic, who was a man on a mission as he lost just eight points on serve in a crushing victory.
Masterclass @DjokerNole def. Lucas Pouille 6-0 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 23 minutes to advance to his seventh #AusOpen final. pic.twitter.com/LwJT5J4BFB
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 25, 2019
The 28th seed’s nerves were evident from the start and a double fault gifted the six-time champion a 2-0 lead.
Djokovic – who spent just 52 minutes on court in his quarter-final before Kei Nishikori retired due to injury – continued to apply the pressure, not allowing Pouille to settle as he returned majestically and raced through his service games.
The world number 31 did not know what had hit him as he walked back to his chair after spraying a forehand wide to go a set down in only 23 minutes and Djokovic continued to show no mercy in the second.
Pouille got on the board with a cross-court forehand pass to hold at 1-1, but a prowling Djokovic stepped up the intensity to go a break up, another double fault from the surprise package putting him 3-1 down.
The domineering Serb was two sets up when Pouille drilled another backhand wide and an error off the forehand wing put the helpless underdog a break down at 3-1 in the third.
Pouille was put out of his misery when he was forced back by another searing return and crashed a backhand into the net to bow out.
Djokovic  bt Pouille  6-0 6-2 6-2
Djokovic – 24/5
Pouille – 18/27
Djokovic – 6/0
Pouille – 4/3
BREAK POINTS WON
Djokovic – 7/12
Pouille – 0/0
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Djokovic – 72
Pouille – 54
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Djokovic – 84/87
Pouille – 68/26
Djokovic – 83
Pouille – 44