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The Latest: A pep talk from son helps Djokovic in Australia

January 25, 2019
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SerbiaÅfs Novak Djokovic celebrates after defeating FranceÅfs Lucas Pouille in their semifinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest at the Australian Open on Friday (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

Fans across the world tuned in to see Novak Djokovic set up an Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal with a straight-sets win over Lucas Pouille.

His son was not among them.

Four-year-old Stefan was busy with other things, although he took time to give his old man a pep talk.

“No, my son is not watching me. He’s going to pre-school,” the six-time Australian Open champion said in his on-court interview. “I actually talked with him 45 minutes before the match. He was telling me about Spiderman. About, he was acting as a fish in an aquarium.

“He just tells me good luck — and make sure you win.”

Djokovic’s wife, Jelena, and two children didn’t make the trip to Melbourne Park. But he’s in regular contact.

“To be a father, there’s no better thing that happened in my life,” he said. “With my wife, we’ve been together 15 years, now we’re the parents of two angels. For me, this is life.”

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9:10 p.m.

Six-time champion Novak Djokovic set up an Australian Open final against second-ranked Rafael Nadal by routing Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2.

Djokovic extended his streak of Grand Slam semifinal victories to 10, and advanced to his record-equaling seventh final in Australia. He shares the record for most Australian titles with Roger Federer and Roy Emerson. Djokovic has never lost a championship match at Melbourne Park.

The 31-year-old Serb has won the last two majors and simply overwhelmed the No. 28-ranked Pouille, who was playing in the semifinals at Grand Slam event for the first time. Pouille had never won a match in five previous trips to the Australian Open, and credited his success this time to his new coach, Amelie Mauresmo.

It didn’t work this time. It was the second consecutive night where one of the old guard gave a tennis lesson to a potential up-and-coming star.

Nadal overwhelmed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in their semifinal match on Thursday.

Djokovic has a 27-25 edge in career meetings with Nadal, including their five-set, almost six-hour final in Melbourne in 2012.

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7:45 p.m.

Novak Djokovic and Lucas Pouille have started their Australian Open semifinal under the lights at Rod Laver Arena.

The top-seeded Djokovic is contesting his 34th career Grand Slam semifinal. He is pursuing a record seventh championship at Melbourne Park and 15th major trophy overall.

It is the first time the 28th-seeded Pouille ever has been this far at a Slam. He had never won an Australian Open match in five previous appearances.

The 24-year-old Frenchman is coached by two-time major champion Amelie Mauresmo.

The winner of this semifinal will face Rafael Nadal on Sunday for the title.

Nadal overwhelmed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 in their semifinal on Thursday.

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2 p.m.

The unseeded pairing of Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai have won their first Grand Slam doubles title together, beating defending champions and No. 2-seeded Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

Australia’s Stosur now owns three major doubles championships, adding this to wins with Lisa Raymond at the 2005 U.S. Open and 2006 French Open. She also won the 2011 U.S. Open singles trophy.

The victory Friday was the 10th in a row for Stosur and China’s Zhang. Their most recent loss was against Babos and Mladenovic at last year’s U.S. Open.

Stosur is the first Australian to win the women’s doubles title at the country’s Grand Slam tournament since Alicia Molik teamed with Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in 2005.

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