Djokovic Pounds Pouille At Australian Open, Sends Message To Nadal
by Staff | January 25th, 2019, 8:27 am

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic successfully set up what should be a tremendous final Sunday night at the Australian Open after pounding Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals today. It was a night of near-perfect tennis for Djokovic.

“Obviously today was a perfect match for me from the first to the last point,” said Djokovic who improves to 34-0 as the top seed at the event. “I executed everything that I intended to and even more than I have expected.”

Djokovic broke the Frenchman’s in his very first service game and that all but ended the drama, if there even was any. Pouille, who was playing in his first Slam semifinal, simply had no answer to the onslaught that came from Djokovic’s racquet.

That match lasted just 83 minutes. That’s for a best-of-5 on hard court in a Grand Slam semifinal! Djokovic finished losing just eight points total on serve while hitting 24 winners to just five unforced errors.

“Tough one for Lucas, but he had a great tournament,” Djokovic added. “He definitely has the quality to be a top-10 player. It was his first semifinal, and the occasion is different, there’s more weight in the match. He’s going to get more of these types of matches in the late stages of Grand Slams.”

It was the first meeting between the two players, and it took Pouille seven games to finally get a win on the scoreboard.

“I was trying to find a solution, but couldn’t find any,” the 24-year-old Pouille said. “From the beginning, yeah, I think the first mistake came after maybe one set, I don’t know.

“If I wanted to get closer or arrive at the end of one set 4-All, I had to serve 90% or 100% first serve. Even this I was not sure to even get close to it.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remains the last Frenchman to make a Slam final, and that came back at the 2008 Australian Open. But Djokovic presents a different problem than Nadal would, according to Pouille who beat the Spaniard at the US Open in 2016.

“Novak is playing like really, really fast, really low,” Pouille said. “He’s close to the baseline. Always he has good placement in any situation. Even in defense, he’s going to put the ball really deep maybe 10, 20 centimeters from the baseline. You will always have a tough shot to make. That’s kind of difficult.”

After Rafael Nadal’s statement win last night over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Djokovic made his own.

“We can promise one thing, and that’s knowing both of us that we’re going to give absolutely everything out on the court,” Djokovic said. “I think people will enjoy it. I will, of course, try to play as well as I have so far. Of course, playing Rafa requires a different approach tactically. I’m sure it’s the same from his side towards me.

“He’s my biggest rival in my career. I’ve played so many matches against him, epic matches on this court. Of course, the one that stands out was the finals of six hours almost in 2012. Hopefully we don’t go that long this time. But I’m sure we’re going to have a good finals.”

Djokovic leads Nadal 27-25 including an epic 5 hour, 53 minute win in the 2012 final.

“Those kind of encounters have also made me the player I am today, without a doubt,” said Djokovic who has won his last seven over Nadal on hard courts. “These are the kind of matches that you live for, finals of slams, playing the greatest rivals at their best. What more can you ask for? This is where you want to be.”

Djokovic has now won 20 straight matches in Grand Slam play. He’s also won his last 10 Slam semifinals and at the Australian Open once he reaches the last 4, he’s now 13-0.

What a Sunday it should be,

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26 Comments for Djokovic Pounds Pouille At Australian Open, Sends Message To Nadal

lylenubbins Says:

As a Rafa fan, all I can say is: ugh.

chofer Says:

As a no-fan of both all I can say is: Bring it on! Ready your helmets!!

Michael Says:

If there had been any other player across the net, Rafa would have prevailed given the kind of extraordinary form he is seized with, playing as one possessed. However, since it is Novak, scepticism will definitely sneak into his mind and he is bound to get a little tight and tentative at Court helping the cause of Novak at crucial moments. Mental block is something difficult to conquer and it is what Novak will count upon to tame Nadal.

Czarlazar Says:

It doesn’t get any better than this and let’s hope these legends have a year or two or more left in their careers. One thing is certain: once Novak, Rafa and Fed retire, tennis will be boring by comparison to the Golden Era we’ve experienced the past 10-15 years. Noone among the younger players can generate a fraction of the excitement the Big 3 can, and I’ll be savouring every minute of matches like the upcoming final.

Annie Says:

Michael…I would not be counting on anything other than winning that
trophy/title to be creeping into RAFAEL’s Mind!?!?! but as he has said on many occasions, “we shall see!” I believe that any player can beat any other player on any court at any time. There are too many
variables. One player could be playing like his pants are on fire and the other could be having an off day! As long as no one gets injured between now and then, or an injury arises on court, it should be a great match! VAMOS RAFAEL! Luv U Babe!

fan Says:

people only wants to see the big four, we should have a tournament with only the big four on court.

Daniel Says:

Nadal’s 25th Grand Slam final: 17-7 record
Djoko’s 24th Grand Slam final: 14-9 record

Match has huge implications for both.

A victory for Nadal placing him 2 shy of Federer with his favirite RG la few months away. 20 seems almsot inevitable should he win.

For Novak, will place him above Sampras with 15, 2 shy from Nadal riding another 3 straight Slam run. But this time he doesn’t have the weight of never winnign RG and the 2 ahead of him in Slam count are older. Meaning, recahing 20 (where Fed has 1 more feasible Slam chance with this year Wimbledon) and Nadal’s 17 (who turns 32 during this year RG) is much “easier” and doable task.

Plus, he will keep the mental edge having won last 2 big Slam matches (that Wimby 18′ semis was basically the final as the Anderson match took forever). Giving him an extra boost for RG.

Czarlazar Says:

Daniel is right. Rarely has a final between Rafa and Nole been as important, on so many levels, especially the historical legacy, GOAT comparison, etc. Because Nadal has an inferior record v. Novak on hard courts and has been injured for months, perhaps expectations are lower and he comes out swinging more freely? Either way, the mental strength of these two giants is beyond impressive, rare even in the upper strata of sport. We are lucky to see this match and will miss these guys when they’re gone.

chrisford1 Says:

Daniel is right and past the Slamcount stats, and GOAThood, the stakes are high for even more reasons – the race for #1 between the two, huge point swings could happen, a chance Novak might have 3 Slams in a row going into Paris. Their razor-close H2H.

Djokovic, not unsurprisingly, had some very pithy things to say about the rivalry in his post-semis interview:

“Nadal has historically throughout my life and career been the greatest rival that I ever played against, on all the surfaces,”
“Some matches that we had against each other were a great turning point in my career. I feel they have made me rethink my game.

“I had some disappointing moments where I lost to him. I think I’ve lost to him nine times so far in the Grand Slams, and I lost some tough matches in finals and semis at the French Open and US Open. I won also some great matches.”

“Those kind of encounters have also made me the player I am today, without a doubt. These are the kind of matches that you live for: finals of Slams, playing the greatest rivals at their best. What more can you ask for? This is where you want to be.”

For Djokovic, it is not the trophy, but the chance to play and prevail against the best in those big events that is the most coveted thing for him. In some form or another, even though Nadal will be literal and say the last person he wants to play in a Final is Djokovic, who “is a nightmare to play and it is stupid to ask if I look forward to that,no?” – deep down, Roger and Rafa are just the same. Nothing is better to them than being on the big stage, playing great tennis against their toughest rivals.

Rick Says:

If Rooferer is beaten at the Aussie Open. He would not win Wimbledon again. Especially, now that Djokovic is back. And Federina will be playing the French this year. He will be getting too tire to play Wimbledon. And don’t forget that he won his last two Grand Slams only by beating the same guy. It is very unlikely that, he could gets into another GS final and the finalist is Cilic again.

Rick Says:

Among Rafa, Nole and Federer. Fed has the worst return of all three. That is why he has so much troubles playing Tsitsipas.

Rick Says:

And Federina will drops to like number 6, when the latest ATP ranking release next week. It means that he will has difficult draws for his upcoming tournaments. He might be running into Nole, Rafa, Del Potro or Zverev early. Even though he is luckily get through playing these guys. He will gets too tire for the semi or the final for his upcoming tournaments. Things are not looking good for him.

Michael Says:

Too much is at stake for both the players in this edition of Australian open finals. If Rafa wins this one, then he will be two steps closer to Roger It will also give Rafa the needed momentum to emulate his inexorable feat in the Clay swing conquering them all without much fuss. On the other hand, a Novak’s win will take him ahead of Sampras and also provide the headway and inspiration to win Roland Garros once again thus completing another GrandSlam, albeit not of the calendar variety.

Michael Says:

Annie – It is a 51:49 match with a very marginal edge to Novak given his imposing H2H record against Rafa on hard courts.For me, Rafa looks to be in a better form than Novak but then matches are decided by the whisker of margins.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Is it me or does Tennis-X get lazy when Fed it out of tournament? Why is there no dedicated thread pre-finals??

Should be an astounding match. There was a time I would paint a room before a Novak/Rafa match, so I had something more exciting than the tennis to watch while it dried. Those days have been gone for years. These guys play incredible, exciting tennis against each other. Their Wimbledon matchup last year was one of the best matches I have ever seen (of course, the drama of Novak’s unexpected run probably played into that).

I don’t really have a favourite (yet), but I can’t wait for this one.

j-kath Says:

Article below sets out predictions of a few well-known tennis folk re. Sunday’s Rafa vs Novak match – it reflects the same uncertainty of posters here……

PS: Daniel – a mini correction: Rafa is already 32 – he turns 33 in June.

Berghain Says:


Nah nothing to do with Fed. TX has been lazy for some time. One of the reasons this site has become rather dead.

Daniel Says:

You are right JK,

Winning RG at 33 would be a feat in itself. One can wonder how long he can keep winning those? I can not see anyone, not even him winning RG at 35 so he may have 2 more shots. This year and 2020.

Wog Boy Says:

Who do you think cooler conditions suit the most?

Don’t forget, the new balls are slower in the cool night conditions, don’t get as much spin (according to players), they get fluffy quicker than the old ones.

I think it’s Rafa’s to lose this one.

Wog Boy Says:

Everything to do with Federer, this was and is Federer sight, check number of post after he was wining tournaments and then check number of posts when Nole won Wimbledon and USO, around 20 per GS win.

This site is going downhill since Federer stop winning, roughly after AO 2018, when Nike dumped him and when Nole started winning.
All those knowledgeable “neutral tennis fans” stopped posting when Nole started winning again, like that soft speaking Canadian dude that asked the question and use to give regularly backhanded compliments to Nole, like he did just now about previous Rafa vs Nole matches and watching paint drying.

Anto Says:

Yeah I think Wogboy is right regarding the site not being active since Federer starts losing.

Anto Says:

@Wogboy the conditions will suit Novak more, less heat and less effect for Nadal’s topspin. Speed being slow is in no way an advantage to Nadal when against Novak

j-kath Says:

Daniel: It always slightly irked the tidy part of my brain that time after time Rafa was “twinned” with Roger on the basis of age/retirement. Roger will be 38 in August – 5 years older. On the basis of age, Rafa really should have been viewed as part of the Novak/Andy age group.

As for Rafa and the RG – his many previous successes confirm it is a surface on which he was most comfortable – will it be too tough if he continues to play after a couple of years? I don’t know. At the moment, he’s playing with the verve and endless energy of a youngster. He has almost re-invented himself. Fascinating to watch.

skeezer Says:

The Church starts balking now and calling Fed fans out for no reason. Funny it’s the same type that self exhiled from being a Novak fan and posting when Novak was lead by said guru and and not producing. When Fed was winning church posts were almost non extistent. Now your all here. Kettle – Black and look in the mirror. The Fed fans are here, never left.
Looking forward to a great tennis match. The way Rafa was playing I was expecting him to win once he got to the finals. But Novak has made his own statement……they both are in stellar form, so should be a stellar match. I’ll be watchin’.

Czarlazar Says:

Cooler conditions definitely suit Djokovic. He’s never thrived in extreme heat whereas Nadal endures it better. The slightly slower ball speed at night is neutral as both excel in that scenario. The main edge for Nole is the ball bounces lower at night and the topspin is less extreme — another reason to believe he’ll capture his 15th GS title tomorrow.

Wog Boy Says:

Thanks Anto.

Thanks Czarlazar.

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