Djokovic books place in Melbourne semi-final with win over Berdych
Super-fit reigning champion Novak Djokovic shrugged off the exertions of his five-hour epic with Stanislas Wawrinka as he booked an Australian Open semi-final with David Ferrer.
The world No 1, showing no ill-effects from his late-night showdown 48 hours earlier, suffered a second-set lapse against Czech fifth seed Tomas Berdych, but was never seriously troubled in the 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
The resilient Serb, who came through a record 5 hour 53 minute final against Rafael Nadal last year, said he was glad to get the job done against Berdych in 2 hours 31 minutes - exactly half the length of his match with Wawrinka. "It was a great performance. I was hoping to have a shorter match, whoever wins tonight, not to go over five hours," he said. "It's always going to be tough against Tomas."
Ferrer clawed back from two sets down after his fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro blew a golden chance to reach his first major semi-final in 34 attempts.
Tenth seed Almagro outplayed the world No5, whom he has never beaten, in the opening two sets and served for the match three times, only to falter on each occasion.
Ferrer seized the lifeline and finished too strongly for his Davis Cup teammate, clinching it with two service breaks in the fifth set as he won 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in 3 hours 44 minutes.
"It was a miracle that I won this match. Nicolas had a lot of chances to beat me and I tried to fight for every point," Ferrer said.