Novak Djokovic in Australian Open final after beating Stan Wawrinka
- Djokovic reaches fifth Australian Open final
- Top seed yet to lose in a Melbourne final
- Wawrinka set to drop to nine in the world after loss
Top seed Novak Djokovic beat defending champion Stan Wawrinka in another dramatic five-set contest to reach the Australian Open final.
The Serb won 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-0 - the third year running they have played five sets at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic, chasing a fifth Australian Open title, will play Britain's Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.
He beat the Scot - who is in his fourth final at Melbourne Park - to claim the 2011 and 2013 titles.
Murray will have taken some encouragement from the length and quality of the second semi-final, however.
The third instalment of Djokovic-Wawrinka did not hit the heights of the previous two, with a combined 118 unforced errors and 12 breaks of serve.
"I did not play on the level that I intended before the match," said Djokovic.
"There were parts of the match where I stepped in and played a game I needed to play, but parts where I played too defensive and allowed him to dictate the play from the baseline.
"I'm in the finals, that's why I'm here, to try to get far in the tournament. Getting to the finals in any way possible is a great achievement."
After bursts of winners and errors from the Swiss, it was the steadier play from Djokovic in the final stages that clinched it.
The seven-times Grand Slam champion twice moved a set in front but neither man could string together their best form for long enough to take command.
|64||1st serve %||59|
|70||1st serve win %||64|
|58||2nd serve win %||52|
After coming back from a break down to take the first in a tie-break, Djokovic double-faulted on break point to allow Wawrinka the advantage in the second.
The third went the way of Djokovic when Wawrinka felt the pressure serving at 4-5, netting a forehand on set point.
Despite celebrating the break, Djokovic did not realise he had won the set until he was told by the umpire, grinning and shaking his head on his way back to the chair.
An early lead in the fourth suggested the Serb was making a decisive move but he let it slip, and then failed to break from 0-40 after Wawrinka won five straight points, including one sublime drop volley.
Djokovic then produced a woeful game of four errors to drop serve at 4-3, failing to hit a single winner as the set slipped away.
|Analysis: BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller|
|"The Djokovic of Friday would lose to the Murray we saw on Thursday, but the four-time champion does have the chance to perform significantly better on Sunday.|
|"It was a peculiar and disjointed match: Djokovic appeared flat and suggested that playing too defensively had sapped his reserves of energy."|
Wawrinka had found his range on the backhand for the moment and hit a beautiful winner down the line to earn break point at the start of the fifth.
The opportunity opened up when he went for the same shot moments later, but the Swiss failed to find the line and his chance was gone.
Djokovic, who had been berating himself throughout the match, broke for 2-0 and found enough consistency to see off the now dispirited Wawrinka with six straight games.
Wawrinka later said the match was "strange", adding: "I think there were a lot of ups and downs.
"In the beginning, conditions weren't too good. It's flying a little bit, the balls are not easy to control. It was not the best match, for sure."