Preview: Novak Djokovic vs. David Ferrer

Novak Djokovic punches the air during the his fourth round match against Stanislas Wawrinka on January 20, 2013
© PA Photos
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Australian Open semi-final as defending champion Novak Djokovic takes on David Ferrer.

World number one Djokovic is out to create his own piece of Australian Open history this week as he aims to become the first man to win the tournament three consecutive times.

The Serbian has been at his resistant, durable best this year, most notably during his gruelling five-setter against Stanislas Wawrinka in the fourth round.

Djokovic diced with defeat against the plucky Swiss, but his defensive prowess helped him over the line before he routinely dispatched of Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.

In his way on Thursday is fourth seed David Ferrer, a man who has had little luck when facing Djokovic in recent years.

The Spaniard's last triumph came at the ATP World Tour Finals in 2011. Since then Djokovic has won all four of their subsequent encounters.

Ferrer has also struggled against the top seed in Melbourne: he has been beaten twice in the quarter-finals in straight sets.

Head to Head record:

Djokovic 10-4 Ferrer

Previous best at Australian Open:

Djokovic: Winner 2011, 2012
Ferrer: Semi-finals 2011, 2013

Route to semi-final:

Djokovic

R1: Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2 6-4 7-5
R2: Ryan Harrison 6-1 6-2 6-3
R3: Radek Stepanek 6-4 6-3 7-5
R4: Stanislas Wawrinka 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7(5) 12-10
QF: Tomas Berdych 6-1 4-6 6-1 6-4

Ferrer

R1: Olivier Rochus 6-3 6-4 6-2
R2: Tim Smyczek 6-0 7-5 4-6 6-3
R3: Marcos Baghdatis 6-4 6-2 6-3
R4: Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-1 6-4
QF: Nicolas Almagro 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6(4) 6-2

Sports Mole says: Djokovic to overcome a dogged Ferrer

Novak Djokovic celebrates defeating Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open tennis championship on January 22, 2013
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