MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic is really starting to get the hang of how to handle himself at the Australian Open.
An expression often used Down Under — “Keep your shirt on” — is designed to discourage anyone from becoming unnecessarily overexcited.
Djokovic took it literally after his 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win Tuesday night over fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych, advancing to the semifinals at an 11th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.
The 2-hour, 31-minute victory took exactly half the time of his five-set, fourth-round win two nights previously against Stanislas Wawrinka. In the early hours of Monday morning, Djokovic ripped his sweat-drenched shirt off and flexed his muscles, mimicking his victory celebration after the 5:53 victory over Rafael Nadal in the 2012 Australian Open final.
That was acceptable at the time to the Rod Laver Arena crowd, which was still abuzz at 1:40 a.m. after five sets of high-level tennis.
After the Berdych match, however, he realized there was no need to raise the roof. Djokovic calmly pumped his fist once and walked to the net; he later joked about the ice baths he’d taken in between matches on the advice of local hero Lleyton Hewitt.
“It was a great performance. I was hoping to have a shorter match ... just not to go over 5 hours,” Djokovic said, in a comparatively subdued mood after a considerably more routine victory.
“It’s always going to be tough against Tomas; he’s an established player. He has a big game, big serve. He can compete against anyone on any surface.”
In the semifinals, Djokovic will meet No. 4-seeded David Ferrer.
Ferrer survived a quarterfinal battle with fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro. Almagro had three chances to serve for the match, but Ferrer broke each time.
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