The third set followed the same pattern, as Pouille admirably fought on despite the obvious gulf in class with the world number one, who sealed the set after once again breaking the Frenchman’s serve. The 24-year-old, who had never gone beyond the quarterfinal stage of a Grand Slam, struggled throughout the match, littering his service games with unforced errors. He ended the match with 27 errors, while the Serb hit just five. Rafael Nadal Beats Novak Djokovic, to Seek 8th Italian Open Title in Final.

Djokovic outclassed and outplayed the French number three, who appeared to run out of steam after playing in four matches in the past fortnight of at least four sets, including one five-setter in the round of 32. “It’s one of the best matches I ever had on this court. Definitely. Everything worked the way I imagined it before the match, and even more so,” Djokovic said on court afterwards.

“Tough one for Lucas but he had a great tournament and best of luck for the rest of the season. He definitely has the quality to be a top-10 player.” The world number one had reached the semis after his opponent in the quarterfinal, eighth seed Kei Nishikori of Japan, was forced to retire due to injury midway through the second set when the Serb was leading 6-1, 4-1.

Fourteen-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic, who will face second seed Rafael Nadal on Sunday, has not lost in any of his previous six appearances in the Australian Open final.