Tokyo: Djokovic routs Pouille to reach semifinals

Published by Reuters / Tennismash

Novak Djokovic in action during his quarterfinal victory over Lucas Pouille in Tokyo (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic is joined in the last four by Reilly Opelka and John Millman as the semifinal line-up takes shape at the ATP Rakuten Open in Tokyo.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic continued his dominant form in Tokyo to storm past Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-1 6-2 and into the semifinals of the Japan Open Tennis Championships on Friday.

Serbian Djokovic had served with ruthless efficiency in his previous two matches and more of the same was on display as the 32-year-old fired eight aces and won 82% of points on his first serve to swat aside fifth seed Pouille in just 50 minutes.

“It was definitely one of the best matches I’ve played this year,” Djokovic told atptour.com.

“Best one of this week (and it) came at the right time. I thought Lucas was playing really well the first couple of matches in this tournament. I saw him play a couple of days ago against (Yoshihito) Nishioka and he was playing really well.

“I took away the time from him. I served well, served many aces, returned a lot of his serves back and just used every opportunity to come in.

“Just overall, a really flawless performance.”

NEWS: Barty beats Kvitova to reach semifinals in Beijing

Up next for the 16-time Grand Slam champion, who has yet to drop a set in his first Japan Open, is 2017 winner David Goffin or Chung Hyeon, who are in action later.

Djokovic is playing in his first tournament since retiring from his US Open fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka because of a problem with his left shoulder.

He has now reached at least the semifinals in six of his past seven tournaments going back to the Madrid Open in May.

Big-serving American Reilly Opelka ended local favorite Yasutaka Uchiyama’s hopes of a maiden ATP Tour semifinal appearance with a 6-3 6-3 victory over the qualifier.

Opelka, who won his first title at the New York Open in February, next takes on Australian qualifier John Millman in what will be their first career meeting.

Millman eased past Japan’s Taro Daniel 6-4 6-0.

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