• Australian Open, What They Said, Day Nine

Djokovic uses sleep to his advantage

ESPN staff
January 22, 2013

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic returned after Sunday's five-hour marathon against Stanislas Wawrinka for a more straightforward four-set quarter-final win over Tomas Berdych. He was relieved not to go through the ringer once again, saying: "I was hoping to have a short match tonight.

"It is always a tough match against Tomas, he is an established player who can win against anyone on any surface. I came out and played my best tennis and won.

"A match like that [against Wawrinka] is so physically and emotionally exhausting. I went to sleep around five, woke up around 2.30pm - so it was a very easy day. We did a great job, because tonight we felt ready and fit."

Tomas Berdych acknowledged that he had not really managed to test the Serbian: "I've seen him play way better. He played really good today but the matches before he played much, much better.

"It was kind of a chance for me, but I didn't come up with my best game and that's what was deciding today."

Djokovic will now face David Ferrer, who came from two sets down to defeat Nicolas Almagro in impressive circumstances. He said: "I try to fight every point, every game. I know all the players, in important moments, we are nervous. I know that. I try to do my best. Today I was close to losing, for sure.

"I think the tiebreak of the fourth set I played very good. And in the fifth, he was cramping, problems with his leg, so it was easier for me."

Nicolas Almagro - who served three times for the match without success - preferred to blame injury, rather than a poor mentality, for his eventual capitulation. "I don't want to think that it's a mentality problem. If I have a mentality problem, I think I didn't win the first two sets," he said.

"I don't know what's wrong. I think I played a really good match. It was close. It was a great battle. At the end it was really tough because I just started to feel some things at 4-3 in the third set on my ankle and on my adductor. After that it was really tough and he started to play better and better, and he is the winner."

In the women's action, Maria Sharapova continued her good form with a 6-2 6-2 triumph against Ekaterina Makarova. The Russian said: "I don't want to give my opponents the chance to test me. Do I want them to test me? Would I prefer that? Absolutely not."

Li Na has the challenge of facing Sharapova for a place in the final, but the Chinese is confident in her game after a change of coach. "I think it was pretty good for me and my husband [who was previously her coach]. It is much easier for our life. We don't have to shout at each other on the court and also off the court.

"I really don't know what it is here. It seems whenever I come down here my results are always quite consistent, no big setbacks or anything. I'm not sure whether it's the winter training but it does seem like I'm just better at this tournament."

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