History chaser Novak Djokovic wary of David Ferrer threat

Story highlights

  • Top seed Novak Djokovic to face Spain's David Ferrer in Australian Open semifinals
  • Defending champion beat Tomas Berdych in four sets to reach last four and retain No. 1 ranking
  • Djokovic is aiming to become the first Open era player to win three Melbourne titles in a row
  • Ferrer came from two sets down to beat fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is wary of the threat fourth seed David Ferrer poses to his bid to become the first Open era player to win three consecutive Australian Open titles ahead of the duo's semifinal tie in Melbourne.

Top seed Djokovic advanced to the last four with a 6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4 win against spirited No. 5 seed Tomas Berdych, having also come through a titanic five-hour tussle with Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round.

It means the Serbian will retain the top ranking whether he wins or loses against Ferrer, who progressed to his second successive grand slam semifinal by launching a stirring comeback against fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.

Ferrer eventually overcame Almagro 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in match that lasted three hours and 44 minutes.

Read: Li to play Sharapova in the semis

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"I need to step in and try to be in control of the match," Djokovic told reporters when asked about the upcoming match against Ferrer. "Otherwise he makes his own rhythm, he makes his own pace on the court.

"That's where he's very dangerous. He's a great competitor. He's somebody that has a lot of respect from all the players because he's playing so many tournaments and works very, very hard.

"You can see because he's basically in his 30s, one of the fittest players around and is playing the best tennis of his life in the last 15 months. It's the semis of a grand slam, so I expect a tough match."

One reporter asked Djokovic, a five-time grand slam champion at the age of 25, if 30-somethings such as Ferrer seem very old to him.

Read: Federer, Murray march on in Melbourne

"If you see the players like Ferrer, (Roger) Federer, they're in their 30s and they're playing unbelievable tennis," answered Djokovic.

"As I said before, I believe the players became much more professional than when I started playing professionally six, seven years ago. I see the players around the Tour.

"They're very committed to practice, to recoveries, to what they eat, what they drink. It makes men's tennis and sport improve and evolve."

Ferrer has registered five victories over Djokovic in their 14 previous matches, although the last of those came over two years ago at the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals.

"Novak, he's the No. 1 of the world," said Ferrer ahead of Djokovic's match with Berdych. "I will have to play better than today to win ... His physique is unbelievable. He's the best, I think."

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