After nearly a fortnight of enjoyable matches, the Australian Open will kick into high gear on Friday evening with the latest chapter in the riveting rivalry between top seed Novak Djokovic and defending champion Stan Wawrinka. The two have played some of the best ATP World Tour matches over the past three years, and will now play yet another match in Melbourne – their third consecutive one at this event. While Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 16-3, Wawrinka won their last meeting on this surface and will be determined to replicate that occasion this time around as well.
Watch the semi-final match here: Djokovic v Wawrinka Live Stream
Top seed Novak Djokovic reached the final four in Melbourne with a simple straight sets victory Milos Raonic, which ended with a 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 scoreline. The Serb faced little resistance in the match-up after the first set and cruised into the final four with little difficulty. He also withstood 15 aces from the Canadian, hit 33 winners and won 89% of his first service points to sets up the latest encounter in the riveting rivalry between himself and Stan Wawrinka.
“I take a lot of confidence [into the match],” said Djokovic. “I try to carry that in every next match, next challenge. Obviously I’m going to play Stan, who is the defending champion here. We played five-set matches at the 2013 and ’14 Australian Opens. I’m going to be ready for a fight. But knowing that I have raised the level of performance tonight, and probably playing the best match of the tournament so far is affecting my confidence in a positive way. Hopefully I can carry that into next one.”
Wawrinka, however, believes he is playing even better tennis than last year. The Swiss No. 2 reached the semi-final with a straight sets win against Kei Nishikori and is growing in confidence with each passing hour. He struck 46 winners, 20 aces, and won 86% of his first service points to close out the match 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(6).
“I know that now I have a Grand Slam back at home,” said the Lausanne native. “I have the Grand Slam trophy. I won the Davis Cup also. I have the confidence from that. I know I can make it. I trust my game. I trust myself on the court, even when we start to play semi-finals or finals in Grand Slams.”
This is the 19th time that Djokovic and Wawrinka will cross paths on the professional tour, with the Serbian star leading the series with a convincing 16-3 record. However, it was only over the past couple of years that Wawrinka because competitive against Djokovic, and they have since produced some sublime tennis together. Wawrinka won their last meeting at the Australian Open, a quarter-final match that gave him the confidence to go forth and win the title. This time around, he will need to play even better tennis to eliminate the motivated Djokovic and set up a final against Andy Murray.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Five Sets