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Professional

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AP
Serbia's Novak Djokovic hits a backhand return to Spain's David Ferrer during their semifinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013.

Djokovic advances to Australian Open final

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic advanced to his third consecutive Australian Open final with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over No. 4-seeded David Ferrer on Thursday night.

The top-ranked Djokovic was in dominating form, hitting 30 crisp winners in the 1-hour, 29-minute match. He is aiming to be the first man in the Open era to win three consecutive Australian titles.

On Sunday, he'll meet the winner of Friday's semifinal between No. 2-ranked Roger Federer, a four-time Australian champion, and U.S. Open winner Andy Murray, who is ranked No. 3.

Djokovic, who is now unbeaten in five Grand Slam head-to-heads with Ferrer, allowed his opponent only four points in the first four games of the last set to strangle any chance of a comeback.

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