No. 1 Novak Djokovic sailed to a three-set win over Lucas Pouille to advance to his seventh Australian Open final and a matchup with Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic beat the 28th-seeded Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour, 23 minutes at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
“Today was a perfect match for me from the first to the last point,” Djokovic said. “I executed everything that I intended to and even more than I have expected.”
Djokovic is back in the Aussie Open final for the first time since 2016. He had just five unforced errors Friday, compared to 27 for Pouille.
A 53rd career meeting with Nadal awaits Sunday. Their epic match in Melbourne in 2012, a five-hour, 53-minute tug of war, went to Djokovic. Nadal has won three meetings in Grand Slam finals since the Melbourne Marathon of ’12.
Nadal has a 4-3 record against Djokovic in Grand Slam finals and could become the first men’s singles player to win all four Grand Slam titles twice with a victory.
Djokovic is looking to break a tie with Roy Emerson and Roger Federer with a record seventh Australian Open title.
Getting back to this stage, against this rival, felt implausible to Djokovic in recent months.
But after recovering from elbow surgery, he was back to his trophy-clutching ways at Wimbledon.
“He’s my biggest rival in my career. I’ve played so many matches against him, epic matches on this court,” said Djokovic of Nadal. “Of course, the one that stands out was the final of six hours almost in 2012. Hopefully we don’t go that long this time.”