MELBOURNE - World No.1 Novak Djokovic's smoother path to Sunday night's Australian Open final makes him an obvious favourite, according to the man who has won more majors than any other, Roger Federer.
The Swiss 17-time grand slam title-winner fell 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 to Scottish third seed Andy Murray in a four-hour semi-final on Friday night.
A night earlier, Djokovic needed just 89 minutes to thrash fourth seed David Ferrer 6-2 6-2 6-1.
Federer said that easier match and extra preparation time could give the Serb the edge as he chases a record third straight title at Melbourne Park.
"Obviously Novak goes in as the favourite, I would think, even though Andy beat him at the US Open," Federer said.
"I mean, maybe a day extra is going to make a difference.
"But it's not back-to-back. (Murray) has a day (off). He's had an easy run until the semis, until tonight. Maybe it's something that Andy needed going into the finals.
"But obviously Novak is the double defending champion here.
"He's done really well again this tournament ... obviously it will be a tough match again and (I) give a slight edge to Novak just because of the last couple of days."
But Federer also said Murray, who beat him in last year's Olympic gold medal match then claimed his maiden grand slam title by downing Djokovic in the US Open final, had become a more composed player under extreme pressure than earlier in his career.