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Djokovic survives late nerves to make semis
January 23, 2008 16:04 IST
Novak Djokovic survived a late bout of nerves to beat Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 on Wednesday and reach the Australian Open semi-finals.
The Serbian third seed missed four match points and was broken when serving for victory but recovered to set up a semi-final against either world number one Roger Federer [Images] or American 12th seed James Blake.
"I even surprised myself the way I played, especially in the first two sets," Djokovic said in a courtside interview.
"It's an amazing feeling. I have now more experience and I play with more patience, that was one of the goals.
"I always try to improve and I am very happy I am performing my best in the big tournaments.
"This is just a start. Hopefully I can go all the way."
Ferrer had won three of their previous five meetings but a near flawless Djokovic was in a different class early on, racing through the first two sets and taking a 5-3 lead in the third.
A succession of drop shots kept Ferrer guessing and the Spaniard was unable to slip into his customary comfort zone on the baseline.
As the nerves set in, however, Ferrer saved four match points in the ninth game and broke back for 5-5 but Djokovic broke again and saved a break point before serving out for victory to reach his fourth grand slam semi-final in a row.
As the match points came and went, Djokovic berated a section of the crowd for calling out as he was about to serve, while also taking his frustrations out on his racquet.
"In the end, I was very, very nervous," Djokovic admitted.
"There's no excuse for that, and I was behaving really really badly. (But) we all fight to win and sometimes on the court you cannot control your emotions.
"I am really happy to be through. I just have to start believing in myself a bit more."