Relentless Djokovic reaches Cincy semis

Published by AAP/Tennismash

Novak Djokovic is into a seventh semifinal in Cincinnati; Getty Images
Novak Djokovic powers into a seventh semifinal in Cincinnati, while Richard Gasquet continues a stunning comeback from injury as he reaches a first ATP Masters 1000 final in more than five years.

Novak Djokovic will face Daniil Medvedev in the Cincinnati Masters semifinals after disposing of opponent Lucas Pouille in straight sets.

Novak Djokovic wore down Lucas Pouille after an even first set, dispatching the Frenchman 7-6(2) 6-1.

The match was much closer than when the pair met in the Australian Open semifinals in January, when Djokovic conceded only four games before going on to win the title. It took Djokovic nearly an hour to prevail in the first set but he closed out a one-sided tiebreak with a deft backhand passing shot.

The second set was one-way traffic as the world No.1 played with relentless efficiency against an opponent who ran out of answers.

Perhaps the only concern for Djokovic with the US Open looming in less than two weeks was a sore elbow which required brief treatment by his trainer late in the match.

“I managed to finish the match, had a little bit of tightness in my elbow but hopefully everything will be fine for tomorrow,” Djokovic said in an on-court interview.

He will have less than 24 hours to recover for a semifinal against Daniil Medvedev, who continued his recent hot form, ousting Russian compatriot Andrey Rublev 6-2 6-3 in barely an hour.

Medvedev, a career-high eighth in the rankings, faced only one break point.

On the other side of the draw, Frenchman Richard Gasquet continued his comeback from groin surgery by defeating No.11 seed Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(2) 3-6 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

Gasquet, who defeated Andy Murray in the opening round, set up a semifinal clash on Saturday (with Belgian 16th seed David Goffin.

The 33-year-old showed all the aggression that took him to world No.7 earlier in his career as he struck eight aces and 38 winners in total against Bautista Agut, a semifinalist at Wimbledon this year. Gasquet saved five of seven break points to secure victory in two hours and 13 minutes.

Goffin advanced when his quarterfinal opponent, Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, pulled out before their match on due to illness.

Gasquet underwent groin surgery in January and returned to competition in May.

“I didn’t play for six months, so it’s great to be back here and reaching the semi-finals aged 33,” Gasquet told ESPN in an on-court interview.

“Goffin is a tough guy, one of the fastest from the baseline, so I will be prepared to battle and to fight.”

It will be the Frenchman’s first semifinal at ATP Masters 1000 level since Miami in 2013.

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