Djokovic sets up blockbuster Nadal final - Newspaper

Federer still testing time

Nadal retired injured in both Australian and US Opens and had an operation on his ankle in November.

Sunday's final marked a stark contrast from when the same pair played for the Aussie title in 2012.

Although reaching the final without dropping a set, Nadal said he was still short of his best after a long injury lay-off following the U.S. Open and lacked an edge to pressure the Serb. "Under the circumstances, playing against Nadal, such an important match, it's unbelievable", the 31-year-old told reporters after needing barely two hours to extend his flawless record in seven Australian Open finals.

Djokovic rated this victory one of the best of his career, but he didn't want to say he'd found the secret to breaking down Nadal.

Djokovic was on top from the opening point and sent Nadal chasing balls from one side of the baseline to the other. Djokovic holds every major except the French Open. The serves weren't being fired down at great pace, instead they were being placed with great care into spots that would trouble Nadal the most. That is a staggering statistic.

By the end of the second set, after 75 minutes of action, Djokovic had won almost twice as many points (59-30), made more winners (23-14) and far fewer unforced errors (20-4), while taking 14 of 17 points that lasted at least 10 strokes. He was content to play from the baseline, pelting Nadal with barrages of powerful and precise groundstrokes, but he was just as effective when he came forward, winning 16 of 18 net points. He has not dropped a single set in the tournament. Like everything Djokovic tried on Sunday, it worked. It was also their eighth matchup in a major final.

Djokovic finished with 34 winners and only nine unforced errors.

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Following his comprehensive straight-sets win over Nadal, Djokovic explained the impact that tennis legends such as Sampras and Jim Courier had on him in his formative years.

Djokovic and Nadal know each other, their styles and their patterns all too well.

Some of Djokovic's most fearless feats have come in the Big Apple-most notably demonstrated by saving match points against Roger Federer in 2010 and 2011 in epic contests.

The clock passed the two-hour mark as Nadal found himself serving to stay in the match, and Djokovic pounced to round off the most comprehensive of Grand Slam final victories over the 32-year-old, with their previous seven meetings lasting at least four sets.

And you have to go all the way back to Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to find a woman who won her first major championship and followed it up at the very next Slam with a second title. Passing Federer once seemed achievable, before the slump made it unrealistic; now it again feels possible, if not probable.

"Nadal has historically throughout my life and career been the greatest rival that I ever played against, on all the surfaces", Djokovic said.

The Serb broke Nadal five times at a stunned Rod Laver Arena while conceding only a single break point to clinch his 15th Grand Slam title and third in succession after winning Wimbledon and the US Open.

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