With the first of the men's singles semi-finals at the Australian Open 2019 getting completed on Thursday, all eyes will be on the second semi-final to be played on Day 12. Top seed and six-time champion Novak Djokovic will be the overwhelming favourite against the 28th seed Lucas Pouille.
The two have never met in any international competition and there is a wide gap of 30 ranking spots between the 14-time Grand Slam champion and the first-time Major semi-finalist. The World No. 1 hasn't been at his impeccable best, as validated by the fact that he dropped two sets on his way to reaching the last-four.
But his quarter-final opponent, Kei Nishikori retired midway through the match, leaving the Serb relatively fresh for the semi-finals than Pouille. The Frenchman had to fight for four sets to douse the fire of the 16th seeded Milos Raonic in the last-eight clash. It was his fourth four-setter out of five matches at this tournament. Even though his fighting spirit and resilience have clearly been evident, it would need more than that just that to take down someone of the stature of Djokovic.
The reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion is looking to win a third Major trophy in as many tournaments, which would help him break a tie with the great Pete Sampras in the number of Slam titles win. But, for that to happen, he has to first cross a huge hurdle named Rafael Nadal who pummelled 14th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to reach his fifth Australian Open final and 25th Major final overall.
While Djokovic and Pouille will be the cynosure of all eyes on Day 12 in the evening session, the Rod Laver Arena will have two other attractions in the morning session. The first match is the Men's Legends Doubles Final followed by the Women's Doubles Final.
The latter will be contested by the second seeds Kristina Mladenovic-Timea Babos and the unseeded pair of Sam Stosur-Shuai Zhang. The men's semi-final is the third and last match of the day on the Rod Laver Arena.
Rod Laver Arena Schedule on Day 12:
Bjorkman/Johannson vs Bahrami/Philippoussis (Men's Legends Doubles Final) - 3 pm AEDT/9:30 am IST
Stosur/Zhang vs (2) Mladenovic/Babos (Women's Doubles Final) - Not Before 4 pm AEDT/10:30 am IST
(1) Djokovic vs (28) Pouille (Men's Singles Semi-final) - Not Before 7:30 pm AEDT/2pm IST