Novak Djokovic reached his tenth Australian Open final this January following a rock-solid 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Tommy Paul in two hours and 21 minutes. Tommy played his first Major semi-final and fought well in the opener.
Djokovic grabbed a late break and broke the rival's resistance, dominating sets two and three for his 33rd Major final. Novak got broken two times. He stole half of the return points and delivered seven breaks, enough to sail over the top.
Tommy had the edge in the most advanced exchanges, and Novak turned the tables in the shortest and mid-range ones. Djokovic tamed his strokes nicely, hitting more winners than unforced errors and crashing his rival in sets two and three.
Unlike the previous matches, Novak did not play at his best in the first set, hitting many loose shots and arguing over a time violation. The Serb denied two break points in the first game with winners and held with an ace, avoiding an early setback.
Djokovic broke Paul at 15 in game two after the American's loose backhand and forced the opponent's mistake in the next one to open a 3-1 gap.
Novak Djokovic reached another Australian Open final over Tommy Paul.
Novak held after deuce in game five and secured another break in the next one after Tommy's wayward forehand.
Djokovic netted a forehand on a set point at 5-1 and lost serve after a loose backhand that landed wide. Paul reduced the deficit with a hold at love in game eight and had to produce another break to extend the battle. The American clinched an extended rally at 3-5, securing a break and returning to the positive side.
Paul landed a volley winner at the net in the tenth game, locking the result at 5-5 after 50 minutes and adding more drama. Novak started all over and held at love for a 6-5 advantage, keeping the pressure on the other side.
Paul served to stay in the set in the 12th game, spraying a forehand error and handing the set to Djokovic after 58 minutes. Novak endured a challenging service game in set number two, defending three break points and forcing Tommy to follow that pace.
The Serb broke in the second game and denied three break points in the next one, forging a 3-0 advantage. Djokovic grabbed another break in game four and fired an ace a few minutes later for a 5-0 lead. Novak forced Tommy's mistake in the seventh game, taking the set 6-1 and moving closer to the finish line.
Djokovic kept pushing and seized the third break chance at the beginning of the third set. The Serb fired a service winner in the second game and secured another break in the next one for a 3-0 advantage. Novak cracked a backhand down the line winner in the fourth game, defending a break point and landing a service winner for 4-0.
Djokovic painted a forehand down the line winner in the sixth game, moving 5-1 in front and forcing Paul to serve to stay in the match. The American held with a smash winner before the Serb sealed the deal with a hold at love with a booming serve at 5-2, moving into his tenth Australian Open final.