Putting his five-set scare against Frenchman Simon Gilles behind him, Novak Djokovic returned to more typical form against Kei Nishikori, dismissing the seventh seed in three sets Tuesday night. Djokovic surrendered only nine games, even though he did not bring his top game to the match.
The win set up a semi-final confrontation with Roger Federer, who has had a rather low-key tournament so far in terms of being pushed in any way by his opponents. He earned his way into the match with Djokovic by convincingly sending bullet-serving Czech Tomas Berdych to an early departure. He needed a little over two hours for the straight set victory.
Federer will be playing in his 39th career Grand Slam semi-final. It will be the 45th meeting between Federer and Djokovic. They have each won 22, so if it were to be described as a best of 45 contest, this one will decide the winner.
Should Djokovic get past Federer, there is nothing to pose much of an obstacle, other than perhaps Andy Murray, to his winning his sixth overall and second consecutive Australian Open. It would bring his career Grand Slam tally to 11.
Federer, at age 34, is the holder of four Australian Open titles, but has not won since 2010. It would be his 18th Grand Slam.