Novak Djokovic: Biggest Reasons Nole Is a Lock to Reach Australian Open Final

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2013

Novak Djokovic didn't wait until the final point of the final match to tear off his shirt, let out a howl and ignite the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena for the first time at this year's Australian Open.

That's one of the many perks of being a two-time defending champion at the year's first Grand Slam tournament, you can pound your chest whenever you choose to. Now, Djokovic is just two wins away from returning to the Aussie Open final for the third time in three tries and the fourth time in his career. 

Let's see why the world No. 1 is destined to get there again in 2013.

 

Momentum

Djokovic has won 18 straight singles matches at the Australian Open. He practically owns Melbourne Park these days. 

He clearly has momentum on his side and that puts doubt in the minds of his opponents.

Although some will point to Djokovic's five-hour, five-set victory over Stanislas Wawrinka in the Round of 16 and say that he's physically drained, those who have seen enough of Djokovic understand that he, more so than any other player in the world, is capable of turning that grueling win into momentum-building confidence.

Djokovic can win in straight sets and he can win marathon matches. That versatility will suit him well moving forward. 

 

Dominant Serve

Djokovic's serve has improved dramatically over the years and is quite a weapon at hard-court Slams. 

Through his first four matches in Melbourne this year, Nole is winning close to 82 percent of his first-serve points. Perhaps even more impressively, he's winning 71 percent of his second-serve points, too. Those percentages have been assisted by some lesser opponents in the early goings, but they certainly point to an obvious strength.

Djokovic isn't going to land aces as often as a Roger Federer, but his ability to be accurate on his first serve and put the ball in play is something that can't be overlooked as he gets set to take on some of the world's best in Australia.

 

Defense

If you ask me, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic are the two best defensive players in men's tennis today. Each of them fight for points as if it were their last, and their career achievements reflect that mentality.

In addition to possessing the right attitude to excel on defense, Nole boasts the length to get to tough shots and put them back on his opponent's side of the net. 

That never-say-never defense has served Djokovic well over the years, and it will continue to in the later stages of the 2013 Australian Open. Not only does solid defense preserve points, it can demoralize the opponent who has to hit three or four winners in order to take a point sometimes, as opposed to just one.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter throughout the 2013 Australian Open for more reaction and analysis on the year's first Grand Slam.

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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