James Crabtree is currently in Melbourne Park covering the Australian Open for Tennis Grandstand and is giving you all the scoop directly from the grounds.
By James Crabtree
MELBOURNE — The game started as expected, with baseline to baseline rallies.
We all got comfy and settled in for what we thought would be a long night, or at least a tough four sets like their last encounter at the 2012 U.S. Open.
At two games apiece Novak Djokovic upped the pressure choosing not to inform David Ferrer, who was still in rally mode. With Djokovic taking just one step forward, suddenly the heavy topspin balls Ferrer was playing were landing right in Djokovic’s preferred hitting zone, ultimately turning a defensive swing into an offensive punch.
Djokovic broke to go 3-2 up and we knew at that point that the set was over. What we didn’t realize was how easy the next few games would be and how the end result had been pretty much decided.
As quick and painful the first set was for Ferrer, the second set was worse. At one stage Djokovic won twelve straight points. Compound that by the fact that Ferrer committed twelve unforced errors from a guy who doesn’t usually miss a ball, and you have a real headache.
As much as Ferrer wasn’t himself, Djokovic was a deity.
There are reportedly three secret ways to beat Novak Djokovic.
1.Hope he has one of those mental lapses that he hasn’t really had since pre 2011
2.Be Rafa on clay
3.Secretly slip a gluten pizza into his lunch box
David Ferrer wasn’t informed of the secrets and thus the second set was one to forget for the Spaniard. The third set, however, may require a year of therapy.
Usually if you see a good bloke getting beaten up before your eyes, you do the ethical thing. You either step in and help or you call the authorities. Today over fifteen thousand people watched in awe at tennis carnage.
Ferrer was broken instantly, and Djokovic who was far from being jokey, didn’t stop the bullying. Each and every shot was highlight reel. A ‘Best Of’ Collection in real time. Winners flew from the Serbians racquet with devastating effect as we tried to comprehend what Djokovic was doing to the fourth best player in the world.
Somehow at 0-4 down Ferrer hit a forehand down the line for a winner, and avoidance of a bagel set, to which he received a pitying applause.
The Ferrer revival was short lived.
Instantly Djokovic was back to his old tricks, and Ferrer was missing easy shots.
And just like that the ninety minute bullying session was over.
Beware- The Serbian dragon Wawrinka had awoken in the fourth round is breathing fire.
He will meet either Roger Federer or Andy Murray in the final.