"He looks fit," said Djokovic of Murray. "He's been playing well. He's definitely, I think, very motivated to win his first Grand Slam [title]. He's been proving to himself and to the rest of the people that the Australian Open is probably his best Grand Slam. But, on the other hand, I have been playing quite well here in the last couple years. We have to expect a great match. [The] tournament cannot ask for better matchups in semi-finals."
Djokovic, who has reached his seventh straight Grand Slam championship semi-final, is now one victory shy of 400 match wins in his career (399-111 overall). Second seed and 2009 champion Rafael Nadal takes on four-time former titlist Roger Federer in the other semi-final on Thursday.
World No. 1 Djokovic broke Ferrer's serve in the fifth game and maintained the lead to clinch the 58-minute opener on his second set point opportunity.
The Serbian's greater groundstroke power meant he was quick to take a 2-0 lead in the second set, but Ferrer won the next three games when Djokovic was bothered by hamstring pain. "Luckily for me it wasn't something that stayed there for long time," said Djokovic. "It was just a sudden pain. But, look, you could expect before coming into this match that it [was] going to be very physical. David makes you run, makes you play an extra shot, makes you earn your points."
Djokovic broke serve in the 11th game at 30/40, when Ferrer hit a forehand into the net. Ferrer bounced back immediately when Djokovic hit a forehand long at 15/40 in the next game. Ferrer won the first two points of the tie-break and opened up a 4-2 lead, before he made two forehand errors. Djokovic grew in confidence and fired two successive forehand winners to wrap up the 76-minute set.
In the third set, Djokovic raised his game by wearing down Ferrer in lengthy baseline rallies to lead 3-0. He broke Ferrer's serve for a second time at 1-4, 30/40, when Djokovic hit a forehand winner down the line. Minutes later, Djokovic held serve to 15 for his 30th match win at Melbourne Park (30-5 record). Djokovic hit 35 winners and three aces, converting five of his 12 break point opportunities for victory in two hours and 44 minutes.
"I think I was hitting the ball really well from the baseline," said Djokovic. "He had his times in the match where he was playing really well. I think my serve could have been a little bit better. But, overall, it was a great performance."
Djokovic now leads Ferrer 7-5 in their FedEx ATP Head 2 Head series, having avenged his round robin loss to the 29-year-old Spaniard at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November. The 24-year-old Djokovic has won 28 tour-level titles and four major championship trophies.
"I played a good game," said Ferrer. "I had my chance in the second set, in the tie-break maybe at 4-5. But when I lost the second set, he played better than me. I am happy with my game."
Ferrer, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals (l. to Murray) last year, lifted his 12th ATP World Tour title at the Heineken Open (d. O. Rochus) two weeks ago.