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Date TimeJanuary 25, 2019
VoiceIf Rafael Nadal made a statement in the manner in which he reached the Australian Open men's final, then Novak Djokovic was just as emphatic with a thumping straight-sets victory over Lucas Pouille on Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic sets up blockbuster Australian Open final with greatest rival Nadal
Playing 24 hours after Nadal hammered Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first of the men's semi-finals, world number one Djokovic was at his ruthless best against the Frenchman, completing a 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 triumph to advance to Sunday night's final.
Djokovic's dominance was established early in a contest lasting an hour and 23 minutes, as he won the opening seven games before breaking Pouille's serve seven times for the match and giving up only five unforced errors.
He will be chasing a record seventh Australian Open men's championship and it will be the eighth occasion he and the current world number two Nadal, who he described as his "greatest rival", have faced each other in the final of a major.
Nadal holds a 4-3 advantage over Djokovic but the world number one has won the past two majors and leads the Spaniard in career head-to-head meetings in ATP Tour matches, 27-25.
He also won their most recent match in last year's Wimbledon semi-finals, triumphing 10-8 in the fifth set, while the pair have history at Melbourne Park, with the Serb beating Nadal in a five-set epic in the 2012 final, an encounter lasting almost six hours.
Djokovic, who has never lost an Australian Open final with a perfect 6-0 record, said the history of his rivalry with Nadal meant Sunday night's clash promised to be memorable.
"Those kind of encounters have made me the player I am today, without a doubt," he said.
"These are the kind of matches that you live for. The finals of Slams, playing the greatest rival at their best.
"What more can you ask for, this is where you want to be."
Djokovic sets up blockbuster Australian Open final with greatest rival Nadal
Pouille said he could not implement his pre-match plan because Djokovic was so effective in dictating terms from the baseline.
"I didn't have time to put a strategy in the match," he said.
"The strategy was to be aggressive, try to be the one who is leading the point.
"But when he's playing that far from the baseline, 10 centimetres from the baseline all the time, it's tough to do it."

Djokovic puts Pouille on the back foot from the outset
Pouille, who was ranked as high as 10 in the world last March, deserved his place in the semi-finals, having beaten seeds Borna Coric and Milos Raonic on his way to the last four.
Djokovic sets up blockbuster Australian Open final with greatest rival Nadal
But 14-time major winner Djokovic was in a different class to any of Pouille's previous opponents in the tournament, needing just 23 minutes to win the first set on the back of three breaks of serve, while conceding just 12 points.
The 28th-seeded Pouille, appearing in his first semi-final of a major, finally opened his account in the eighth game of the match, much to the delight of the crowd, but it did little to halt Djokovic's momentum.
He gained a double break on his way to holding a two-sets-to-love lead in under an hour.
The third set followed a similar script, with Djokovic only losing two games, and he iced his win by breaking the Pouille serve yet again.

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