FORMER champion Novak Djokovic insists he has nothing to lose against Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The Serb’s maiden, and to date lone, grand slam success came in Melbourne three years ago where he beat Federer at the last four stage.
The 23-year-old set up a rematch with the Swiss No2 seed with an impressive 6-1, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 victory against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Djokovic’s head-to-head record against the 16-time grand slam champion makes depressing reading – Federer has won 13 of their 19 encounters. But their most recent high-profile meeting, last year’s US Open semi-final, is cause for optimism.
On that occasion Federer wasted two match points before losing in five sets and Djokovic believes a repeat victory is possible.
“Coming in here I was physically prepared, mentally motivated to make some success,” he said.
“I have nothing to lose playing Federer, who’s the title defender here. We all know everything about him. I have to believe in myself in order to win that match.”
Of that defeat in New York last September Federer, who confirmed his semi-final appearance by easing past fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1, 6- 3, 6-3, said: “Well, the US Open was a close match. I guess I should have won really. I was playing good enough to win.
“Novak is a quality player who plays really offensive, he takes it to the opponent. I enjoy playing against him because of the shot-making we are able to create.”
In the women’s draw top seed Caroline Wozniacki fought back to reach the final four in Melbourne for the first time. The Dane dropped the first set before beating French Open champion Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
She said: “Francesca is such a fighter I’m so glad to have won.”