January 28, 2020
Djokovic faces Federer in semi-final after 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 victorySpotlight intensifies but Barty remains groundedFederer performs great escape against SandgrenEmail tumaini.carayol@theguardian.com | Tweet @tumcarayol 12.50pm GMT
Australian Open 2020: Djokovic beats Raonic in straight sets – live!
What we learnt from the women’s event earlier today was something we have been learning constantly for over a year: Ashley Barty is tough as hell. The quarterfinal between Barty and Petra Kvitova was easily the pick of the match-ups and for a set Barty was completely up against it as the sheer weight of Kvitova’s strokes took the racquet from her hands.
In any venue in the world, the way Barty weathered the storm in the first set and then marched to the victory was impressive. The fact that she is already handling everything that comes with being the world number one at home is sublime. Although she first reached the #1 ranking in May, a reminder of her inexperience: Barty had never beaten a top 20 player at a slam until her win over Alison Riske in the fourth round. 12.26pm GMT
As usual, Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic will be a monumental occasion but it is difficult to remember the last time they faced each other with such contrasting form. Federer’s recovery from seven match points down today while struggling with a groin injury was beyond belief. By the beginning of the fourth set, he was barely moving and many wanted him to retire. The fact that he has dragged himself into the final after two desperate five sets reflects the aspect of his game that is constantly overshadowed by talk about how elegant his game is: his fight and his grit.
However, Federer is not playing good tennis in Melbourne. He is not serving well enough and he has struggled badly with his groundstrokes, particularly his forehand, throughout this tournament. The issues in his game are compounded by these slow conditions and balls that supposedly fluff up and slow down very quickly, allowing his opponents a lot more time to neutralise his aggression. Across the net, Djokovic is simply in better form than anyone else and he is rightfully the tournament favourite by a fair distance.
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