DEFENDING champion Novak Djokovic made a powerful statement to Australian Open contenders in a straight-sets thrashing of seventh seed Kei Nishikori to set up an exciting semi-final with Swiss legend Roger Federer.
The Serbian world No1 took advantage of his Japanese foe’s error-strewn performance and romped to an easy 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
Despite a brief comeback in the third, Nishikori was out-matched throughout and was driven to fury by his own mistakes, clocking up a disastrous 54 unforced errors.
Djovokic thus avenged a rare defeat, having lost to the Japanese in the semi-finals of the 2014 US Open.
Across the gender divide, fellow reigning champion, Serena Williams swept aside fifth seed Maria Sharapova to continue 12 straight years of victories over the Russian star.
In a rematch of last year’s final, the 34-year-old American needed two breaks for treatment but will be confident in her Australian Open record which has seen her win the competition each time she has reached the semis.
She will now face Agnieszka Radwanska, against whom she has an 8-0 record, as she bids for her 22nd Grand Slam title.