It was hardly the classic that their previous battles at the Australian Open in recent years have been, but once again the match-up between Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka in the semi-final went the full distance of five sets. It was the number one seed who raised his game just when he needed to as he bagelled the Swiss number two in the final set, ensuring another clash with Andy Murray in the final on Sunday after his three sets to two success.

Neither player ever truly found their best form, as the match fluctuated in fortunes between the two players over the duration of the spectacle.

The first set went to a tense tie-break, that Djokovic took convincingly 7-1, but it did not seem to settle him down into his usual commanding form, as the number four seed bounced back to take the second set 6-3.

The reigning champion was clearly not keen to relinquish his hold on the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, named after the former Australian Tennis champion Sir Norman Brookes who died in 1968. Yet, far from the second set win stamping his authority on the match, it was Djokovic who again responded to nudge ahead by taking the third set 6-4.

Wawrinka found inner strength once more in the fourth set to force the deciding fifth, clinching it also 6-4.

It was to be a parting shot from the Swiss player though, as Djokovic decided that he had spent far too much time already on court and rattled through the final set 6-0, breaking his opponent's serve no less than three times in the process.

No repeat Slam for Wawrinka then this year, but he defended his title impressively enough and it was no disgrace to bow out at the hands of the best player in the world at present. For Djokovic, he moves on in search of a fifth title in Melbourne and fourth in five years Down Under. Indeed, the only defeat since 2011 he has suffered was at the hands of the man he beat earlier today, when they met in last year's tournament.

It represents an ominous statistic for Murray come the final, but one he will no doubt place at the back of his mind, given his renewed determination under Amelie Mauresmo so far this year.

It will be the third time that Murray has faced his friend and rival the Serbian in the Australian Open final, with the Scot still looking for his first title Down Under after losing in the 2011 and 2013 finals to him.

It will be interesting to see how Djokovic recovers from the effort of a long match, given that Murray will have had an extra day to recover ahead of the final. However, the top seed is renowned for his recuperative powers and that seems unlikely to be a major factor, unless the final goes the full five sets.

The head to head between the two players shows a marked advantage for Djokovic with 14 victories compared to Murray's 8, including three defeats for Britain's number one at the Australian Open (the other defeat was at the semi-final stages in 2012 which became an epic five-setter). Murray will need to overcome any painful memories of those losses if he is to avenge his nemesis at the weekend.