Novak Djokovic storms past Lucas Pouille to set up final against Rafael Nadal

Djokovic is in to his seventh Aussie Open final, he is yet to lose one. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2019
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Novak Djokovic storms past Lucas Pouille to set up final against Rafael Nadal

  • Serb makes light work of Frenchman to set up classic clash in Melbourne.
  • Djokovic looking for a record seventh Australian Open title.

MELBOURNE: A rampant Novak Djokovic completed a stunning 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 demolition of Lucas Pouille to storm into his seventh Australian Open final and set up a mouthwatering title match with Rafal Nadal.
The six-times champion was at his devastating best in the one hour and 23 minute procession as he gave the hapless Pouille a brutal lesson in Grand Slam tennis and extended his perfect semifinals record to 7-0 at Melbourne Park.
Attacking the lines with machine-like precision, Djokovic broke the 28th-seeded Frenchman seven times yet never looked in danger of conceding a break point.
Top seed Djokovic wrapped up the encounter on the second match point when Pouille netted and the Serb will face Nadal in search of a record seventh title in Melbourne.
Djokovic was left struggling to remember whether he had played any better in his previous Melbourne semifinals.
“It’s definitely one of the best matches I have ever had on this court, definitely. Everything worked the way I intended before the match,” he said.
Djokovic will meet second-seeded Spaniard Nadal in Sunday’s final seven years after the Serb prevailed in a five hour 53-minute epic at the 2012 tournament, the longest Grand Slam final on record.
“I would definitely want to buy the ticket for the match, for those who haven’t yet,” he quipped in his on-court interview.
“That’s (2012 final) a once in a life-time event and hopefully the outcome will be the same for me.”
Even before entering the court on Friday, Djokovic was a heavy favorite on paper.
No Frenchman had beaten him in 27 previous matches at the Grand Slams, his last defeat coming against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2010 quarter-finals in Melbourne.
A nervous-looking Pouille felt the weight of history and was soon under siege on serve.
After saving two break points, he struck a double-fault to fall 2-0 behind.
That was all the head-start Djokovic needed as he roared to a 5-0 lead before many of the center court fans had settled in their seats.
Djokovic smiled ruefully after wasting a set point with an ambitious drop shot from the baseline.
But with another two in the bank and an anxious opponent, he could afford the luxury.
Pouille did little with the reprieve, smacking a forehand long, and when the dust had cleared, he looked up to see the set was gone in 23 minutes.
A low rumble of unease coursed through the stadium as Djokovic broke the Frenchman to lead 3-1 in the second, with fans being served up an execution rather than treated to a contest.
After Pouille held serve to 4-2, the crowd erupted.
There was plenty of good will toward the Frenchman at center court but even his most loyal fans would have tutted at the way he conceded the second set in 33 minutes.
He squandered a chance to hold serve with an errant backhand then lazily fired wide off the same wing to hand the Serb a two-set lead.
From there it was academic, as Djokovic whipped through the last set in 27 minutes, with Pouille yet another of the Tour’s young hopefuls left humbled by the master Serb.


Eriksen late show keeps Spurs on course for top four finish

Updated 24 April 2019
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Eriksen late show keeps Spurs on course for top four finish

  • Erikssen’s long-range strike gave Spurs the win over Brighton

LONDON: After bombarding the Brighton goal without success throughout the game, Tottenham was getting frustrated.
So frustrated that, with Harry Kane’s injury depleting Tottenham’s striking options, out-of-favor Vincent Janssen was summoned from the bench for his first appearance in 20 months for the final 10 minutes.
In the end, though, it was a more familiar name that delivered the breakthrough. Christian Erikssen’s long-range strike inside the near post gave Spurs a 1-0 win over Brighton on Tuesday that kept his team’s bid for a Champions League spot on track.
The goal finally came in the 88th minute when the Dane was teed up by Dele Alli and squeezed the ball beyond the reach of diving goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
The goal nudged Tottenham three points clear of Chelsea in fourth Champions League qualification place. Arsenal is a further point behind in fifth place ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Wolverhampton.
By conceding a late goal, Brighton was denied a point in its bid to stay in the Premier League and remains three points ahead of Cardiff, which occupies the final relegation place.
But another of Brighton’s relegation rivals also conceded late — after scoring early.
The earliest-ever goal in a Premier League game.
Shane Long netted after 7.69 seconds for Southampton but Andre Gray leveled in the 90th minute to grab a 1-1 draw for Watford.
Southampton is three points ahead of Brighton and six clear of the drop zone with three games remaining.