Pouille powerless to find any solution to dominant Djokovic

Shortly after his win over Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Tuesday, Lucas Pouille couldn't help but talk about his coach: Amelie Mauresmo, whom Pouille hired in December.

Pouille held his first service game of the second set to a huge ovation from the centre court fans, but it was a brief respite as Djokovic, a picture of precision on serve and return, would not allow him any chance to get back into the match.

Pouille will next play six-time Australian titlist Novak Djokovic.

Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson's assertion that everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face can never have rung truer for Lucas Pouille after the Frenchman was thrashed in 83 minutes by Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open on Friday.

Djokovic maintained the rage, surging to 5-2 before closing things out for a two-sets-to-love lead.

"He just tells me good luck - and make sure you win", he said.

The 28-year-old, who also won Wimbledon in 2011, was the victim of a knife attack at her home in late 2016, which severely damaged her left hand, the hand that she plays with.

Such was the one-way traffic it resembled another Australian Open semifinal where a Frenchman was blown off court. Last year's US Open victor cruised to victory in straight sets against Ukrainian sixth-seed Elina Svitolina, 6-4, 6-1.

Having withdrawn from the Brisbane International leadup tournament with a thigh strain, Nadal was thrilled with his tennis and fitness at Melbourne Park, where past year he retired hurt in the quarter-finals. "Now I'm in the semifinals".

"She is the right state of mind, she knows everything about tennis", he insisted. "It has been a matter of going step by step and to give all that I have in every point and here we are, so I'm just really happy". Pouille said Mauresmo had quickly worked out how to improve his game, giving him confidence. She knows everything about tennis.

Under the stewardship of the 2006 Australian Open champion, Pouille has already appeared to transform mentally.

Which raises the question: Should more men hire more women's coaches?

The Japanese star fired 15 aces past her opponent to just three from Pliskova and 56 winners to the Czech's 20.

Djokovic's record of 27 straight victories over French players at the slams was a warning and, from the moment he broke the Pouille serve in the second game, this was death by tennis ball. Pouille did little with the reprieve, smacking a forehand long, and when the dust had cleared, he looked up to see the set was gone in 23 minutes.

For Pouille, the Canadian had some words of wisdom.

But most significant is one statistic. "I think he has to stay true to himself, try to do the things he does well, really focus on that aspect more than anything else".

  • Julie Sanders