(Reuters) – A look at the records of Serbian Novak Djokovic and Frenchman Lucas Pouille before their semi-final match at the Australian Open on Friday (prefix number denotes seeding):
Tennis – Australian Open – Quarter-final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 23, 2019. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during the match against Japan’s Kei Nishikori. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
ATP Ranking: 1
Grand Slam titles: 14 (Australian Open 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016; French Open 2016; Wimbledon 2011, 2014, 2015, 2018; U.S. Open 2011, 2015, 2018)
2018 Australian Open performance: Fourth round
Best Australian Open performance: Winner (Six times)
Djokovic failed to make the semi-finals at Melbourne in the past two years hampered by an elbow issue, but has returned to his best and is a favorite for a seventh title in Melbourne.
Having showed signs of fatigue after his previous round, the 31-year-old could not have asked for easier passage into the last four as Japan’s Kei Nishikori retired midway through their quarter-final match on Wednesday.
Standing in Djokovic’s way and a spot in the title clash is Frenchman Pouille, a frequent practice partner who he will face for the first time in his career.
ATP Ranking: 31
Grand Slam titles: 0
2018 Australian Open performance: First round
Best Australian Open performance: Semi-finals (2019)
Few would have backed Lucas Pouille to enjoy a deep run in the year’s first major after the Frenchman came to Melbourne having lost all three of his singles matches in the Hopman Cup and crashed out of the Sydney International in the first round.
But the 24-year-old has defied the odds with some determined performances, including a four-sets win over Milos Raonic in the last round, to advance to his maiden Grand Slam semi-final.
Pouille, whose coaching partnership with compatriot Amelie Mauresmo has revitalized his career, is seeking to become the first French finalist in Melbourne since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Keith Weir