MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic reached a fifth Australian Open final, avenged a long and arduous loss to Stan Wawrinka and ensured he’d renew an old rivalry with Andy Murray.
The top-ranked Djokovic was so absorbed in the moment, he lost track of the score during Friday’s semifinal. His mental lapse after the third set probably cost him the fourth, but the four-time Australian Open champion recovered with three service breaks in the fifth set to beat defending champion Wawrinka 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
“Sometimes these things happen, you get carried away by a moment,” Djokovic said, trying to explain his perplexed expression after he’d taken a lead of two sets to one. “I was very confused when I saw the security on the court.
“The circumstances, obviously playing Grand Slam semifinals against the defending champion ... a lot of emotions going around. Sometimes you can’t keep track of the score.”
Djokovic has a 100 percent winning record in finals at Melbourne Park, claiming his first Grand Slam here in 2008 and winning three straight titles from 2011 before losing in the quarterfinals last year to Wawrinka. Only Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg had reached five men’s finals at the Australian in the Open era.
The previous two meetings between Djokovic and Wawrinka at the Australian Open had gone to five sets and lasted a combined nine hours. Friday’s match lacked that kind of intensity and memorable moments.
“Strange,” Wawrinka said. “Not the best.”