Novak Djokovic: ‘I was strong and solid – everything worked terrifically’

Novak Djokovic said his semi-final win over Aslan Karatsev was his best performance in the Australian Open so far.

Djokovic has had to battle injury for much of the competition after injuring his abdomen in the third round against Taylor Fritz.

However, he looked much closer to his usual fitness levels as he dismissed the Russian qualifier, and later confirmed that he felt no pain during the match.

He will face either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final, and he believes he is going into it strongly.

“This was the best performance I’ve had in tournament so far,” Djokovic told Eurosport. “It came at the right time.

“I expected him (Karatsev) to play at a high level. He played great all tournament.

“[He] strikes the ball so well – a big guy with a very good serve.

“I think I executed the game plan and the tactics I set up with my coach well well.

“He is hitting very flat and deep so I wanted to give myself more space. I wanted to be patient and constructive and go for nothing spectacular.

“I came out strong and solid. No pain. Moved very well. Everything worked terrific.

“I am really pleased with the performance.”

Tsitsipas and Medvedev will play their semi-final on Friday, and Djokovic is expecting a tough final no matter who he plays.

“Stefanos did incredibly well to hang in there [against Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal],” Djokovic said. “Played a good tie-break. Somehow he turned it around.

“Next thing you know he is in the match, it was probably the best match of the tournament so far.

“Medvedev is the guy who probably plays at the highest level the last three or four months. He had one Grand Slam final and Stefanos has never reached the final – it will be interesting to see them play.

“I will take the popcorn and enjoy it!”

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