Australian Open - Djokovic brushes past Berdych to reach semi-finals

World number one Novak Djokovic secured his place in the semi-finals of the Australian Open with a 6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4 win over fifth seed Tomas Berdych.

After his five-set, five-hour epic against Stanislas Wawrinka in the previous round, the four-set win over the Czech was relatively straightforward. Lasting for half of the time of Sunday's match, it was welcome relief for the tireless Serb.

He now prepares to take on David Ferrer after the Spaniard recovered from two sets down to beat compatriot Nicolas Almagro.

Djokovic, who is bidding to become the first man to win three successive Australian Open titles since the game went professional, took the opening set for the loss of just one game in 28 minutes before Berdych took the second in close to an hour.

But the indefatigable top seed - who has now won 57 straight Grand Slam matches against players outside the top four since his defeat to Berdych at Wimbledon in 2010 - cruised through the third and fourth sets to wrap up victory in two hours, 31 minutes and seal his place in the last four of the first Slam of the year.

Berdych has played in one major final, that Wimbledon tournament three years ago. However his semi-final triumph there was his only win against Djokovic in 12 meetings.

"Obviously, it's not easy to always be at your 100 per cent fitness," Djokovic said. "But after a five-hour match two days ago, I was quite convinced I could recover for this one.

"I felt good enough to go another five hours. But I definitely wasn't thinking about it. I tried to get the work done as fast and efficiently as possible.

"I was very happy with the way I started the match. Very aggressive out there, going for my shots, which wasn't the case against Wawrinka. So it's a good improvement and very encouraging for my next match."

It took Djokovic just three games to get going as he broke with a ferocious forehand down the line, and it was swiftly followed by a second break as the Serb opened up a commanding 4-1 lead.

Berdych was flat-footed and sluggish in the opening set as he slipped behind, and Djokovic was able to close it out comfortably for the cost of just one game as he seized the early initiative in the match.

The Czech managed to adapt his approach at the start of the second set as he moved to the net at every opportunity and pressured the Djokovic serve with deep returns and moves in to the net, and the change proved effective.

Berdych broke serve in the first game of the second set as Djokovic was caught off guard by a flurry of powerful groundstrokes, and the Czech refused to allow his opponent to dictate the play thereafter.

Djokovic allowed four break back points to slip away in what proved to be the final game as he failed to capitalise on some nervy serving from his opponent, and Berdych was able to level up the match.

Having arrested his early slump to haul himself back level and restore parity, it was an alarmingly lethargic start to the third set from Berdych as Djokovic snatched back control of the match.

The 27-year-old saw his serve broken in the second game as Djokovic immediately responded to losing the second set, and again in the fourth as he badly faltered against the suddenly imperious Serb, who delighted his fans with the rapid resurgence.

Berdych mustered just a single game to prevent the bagel, with Djokovic able to comfortably restore his lead in the match with a first serve that was by now affording no opportunities to his opponent.

The fourth set did not see the momentum of the match change as the Serb assumed total control with a clinical break in the third game, and Berdych threw his arms up in frustration as he fell behind once more.

Djokovic was forced to serve out for the match as he preserved his slender lead, and he roared with his arms aloft as he celebrated a fine win that sees the 25-year-old world number one set up a semi-final clash with Ferrer.