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Novak Djokovic is ready for a fierce battle with Wawrinka

By Phil Casey

Top seed Novak Djokovic is relishing the renewal of his intense Australian Open rivalry with defending champion Stan Wawrinka in tomorrow's semi-final.

Djokovic beat Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set in a fourth-round clash on the way to claiming his third straight title in 2013.

But Wawrinka ended the world number one's 25-match unbeaten run in Melbourne in the quarter-finals last year, winning 9-7 in the fifth.

"The crowd are definitely expecting a marathon like the last couple of years and both of us will give our best to perform the best possible tennis," Djokovic said after beating eighth seed Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 6-2 in the quarter-finals.

"We always ask from each other the most of our own abilities on the court so I am looking forward to it. I'm ready for the battle.

"When we played the last three grand slam matches they were the final stages of a grand slam, semi-finals, quarter-finals.

"Grand slams are the tournaments where you want to perform your best.

"I'm sure we both are very much aware of that fact, and it's why we get to play on a high level against each other and we push each other to the limit in a way.

"It's a very physical battle as well. But I haven't had too many long matches during this tournament. I'm ready for it. I'm going to practice, do a little preparation for that match, try to analyse his game and what I need to do in order to win."

Djokovic has not dropped a set on the way to the semi-finals for the first time since 2008, the year he won his first title, and has only lost his serve once.

"It was a great performance, definitely no complaints," he added after beating Raonic in exactly two hours.

"I returned very well, tried to get as many balls back in play. Some games I had to just let it go and wait for the opportunities and when they are presented obviously try to use them and that's what I've done."

Wawrinka defeated fifth seed Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-4 7-6 (8/6).

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