Djokovic eases into last four
Novak Djokovic showed no ill-effects from his marathon encounter with Stanislas Wawrinka by brushing aside the challenge of Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open.
Djokovic scraped past Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set on Sunday night in a match which lasted over five hours.
But, not for the first time in his career, he displayed his remarkable powers of recovery with an impressive performance against the fifth-seeded Czech, winning 6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4 to set up a semi-final clash with David Ferrer. The victory also meant Djokovic will retain the number one ranking even if he does not win the title on Sunday.
"It was a great performance," he said. "I was hoping to have a shorter match, whoever won, just not go over five hours.
"It was always going to be tough against Tomas, he has been an established top-10 player now for the last five or six years and if he's on he can win against anyone on any surface. I was aware of his qualities and I was very pleased with my performance."
On the match-up with Ferrer, he added: "He is one of the most respected guys on the tour because he never gives up. He is one of the fittest guys around and I am expecting a long one."
Ferrer had earlier capitalised on Nicolas Almagro's fragile temperament to hit back from two sets down and clinch his place in the last four.
Almagro had lost all 12 previous meetings with his Spanish compatriot before their last-eight clash, and the mental baggage was apparent when he failed to serve out the match three times - once in the third set and then twice in the fourth. And it was no surprise that Ferrer duly completed a gutsy 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7/4) 6-2 victory in three hours and 44 minutes.
"It was a miracle that I won this match," Ferrer admitted. "Nicolas had a lot of chances to beat me but I tried to fight for every point - that is my game. I will always try to fight and do my best.
"In the important moments all the players get nervous, it has also happened to me."