Serb powerhouse Djokovic performing at peak in Aus Open

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning his fourth round match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day seven of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning his fourth round match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day seven of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 20, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Robert Prezioso / Getty Images

NOVAK Djokovic insists he can recover from his epic five-set thriller against Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in time for tonight's Australian Open quarter-final against No.5 seed Tomas Berdych.

The Serb said he lived for matches like the one against Wawrinka, describing it as one of the greatest he had played.

"It definitely ranks right at the top. One of the longest, most interesting, and most exciting matches I played in my career," Djokovic said.

"Obviously we pushed each other to the limit. But in the end, these kind of matches, after five hours, definitely help your confidence.

"These are the matches that you live for, you practice for. You want to be on the centre court and play on such a high level for five hours. It's incredible."

The world No.1 has played plenty of marathon matches in previous years, saying the best way to recover was to get plenty of sleep.

"I know I can recover. I know I have it in me," he said.

While Djokovic was slugging it out until almost 2am Melbourne time yesterday morning, Berdych finished his fourth round match against big-serving South African Kevin Anderson several hours earlier.

The Czech hasn't dropped a set in his four matches, but has beaten Djokovic just once in 12 meetings.

That was a straight sets win in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2010 - he lost the final to Rafael Nadal.

Berdych said he believed he was a much better player than when he lost to Djokovic in three sets in the quarter-finals of the 2011 Australian Open.

The 27-year-old is looking to reach his second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final after beating Roger Federer to make the last four at the 2012 US Open where he was beaten in four sets by eventual winner Andy Murray.

The winner of the Berdych versus Djokovic match will meet the winner of today's all-Spanish quarter-final between David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro in the semi-finals.

Each player has dropped just one set in the tournament to date, Almagro saying he was excited about his chances against the No.4 seed, despite the fact Ferrer holds a 12-0 head-to-head advantage.

"It is a big opportunity for me to be in a semi-final. I'm ready to fight," Almagro said.

"I'm healthy and I'm happy with my tennis. I think I'm playing really good."



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