Novak Djokovic has set up a mouth-watering Australian Open final against long-term rival and fellow tennis great, Rafael Nadal, after a commanding win over world number 31, Lucas Pouille.
The Frenchman, making his debut in a Grand Slam semi-final, fought valiantly against his formidable rival, but was no match for the Serbian's ruthless power and on-court consistency.
Needing just one hour and 23 minutes to storm to a 6-0 6-2 6-2 victory, Djokovic broke serve an incredible seven times en-route to a completely dominant victory, which has seen him progress to the final stage for a seventh time in just eleven years.
Perhaps even more ominously for his resurgent rival, however, is the fact that Djokovic has never failed to win the Australian Open upon reaching the final - his six victories placing him alongside fellow tennis greats Roger Federer and Roy Emerson in the all-time list.
It is not without hope for Nadal however. Despite possessing only one crown in Melbourne of his own, the 17-time Grand Slam champion has been in stunning form over the past 12 months, reaching at least the quarter-final stage in all four of 2018's Grand Slams.
Ahead of Sunday's much-anticipated showdown, footage has also re-emerged from the last time the two titans clashed down under, in a match heralded by many as one of the greatest of recent times.
With the scores locked at two sets and four games apiece, Nadal was looking to use his infamous serving ability to retain his advantage towards the end of the nervy fifth set.
After Djokovic returned with power however, the two set about one of the most famous rallies the sport has ever seen, with a stunning 31 shots being played before the Serbian finally succumbed to a delightful drop-shot from his rival.
The exchange left the crowd enraptured, with shrieks of joy and tension ringing around the arena before all 15,000 stood in recognition of the sheer brilliance they had just witnessed.
Although he lost that point, Djokovic still emerged a 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7(5–7), 7–5 victor.
Despite the infamy of their 2012 encounter, the Djokovic-Nadal rival is the most prolific of the Open era, with the pair having faced-off a total of 52 times, 27-25 in favour of Djokovic.
The rivalry was also voted the third greatest in the last decade in 2009, by ATPworldtour.com, despite the fact they had only met on the court for the first time just three years prior.
Both men have long been open on the importance of the other to both their own form as well as their motivation, with the pair remaining the only two men in Open era history to feature in 24 finals.
After a disappointing few years for Nadal, which saw Djokovic claim 5 of the 8 Grand Slams on offer in 2015 and 2016, the Spanish heavy hitter has witnessed an incredible return to form over the past 24 months.
In 2017, Nadal reached the final of the Australian Open, before claiming both the French and US Open, retaining his Parisian title the following year for a record-breaking 11th time.
Both men also reached the semi-final stage of the 2018 US Open and Wimbledon, with Djokovic eliminating Nadal in the latter, before eventually going on to claim both titles himself.News Now - Sport News