Djokovic Rides 10-Game Surge Into Wimbledon Semi-finals
Winning 10 points in a row is impressive. Claiming 10 games in a row in the Wimbledon quarter-finals is on another level.
That is exactly what defending champion Novak Djokovic did on Wednesday, overcoming an early deficit against 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up David Goffin to beat the No. 21 seed 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 in one hour and 57 minutes.
The World No. 1 is into his ninth semi-final at the All England Club, tying Boris Becker, Arthur Gore and Herbert Lawford for the third-most trips to the last four here all-time. Djokovic is pursuing his fifth crown at SW19, and a victory at this event would also give him his fourth Grand Slam crown in his past five major tournaments.
"I've been playing [my] best tennis in this tournament in the past two rounds, the fourth round and today, especially today [in the] second set and third set against Goffin, who was in-form. I felt like I managed to dismantle his game and always find the right shots. Very pleased with the performance," Djokovic said. "This match could have gone [a] different way. I was a break down. He was the better player for most of the first set. But I managed to turn things around."
Djokovic vs. Goffin Match Stats
|Player||Winners||Unforced Errors||Total Points Won|
Djokovic's only Grand Slam loss since the start of Wimbledon last year came at Roland Garros, where he fell in the semi-finals against Dominic Thiem. The 32-year-old has won 31 of his past 32 matches at the majors, emerging victorious in straight sets from 23 of those battles. The six games he dropped against Goffin is the fewest he has lost in a completed major quarter-final, with his previous best being seven at 2010 Wimbledon against Yen-Hsun Lu.
In the last four, Djokovic will face Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who ousted Argentine Guido Pella in four sets. Bautista Agut has won two consecutive meetings against Djokovic, both of which came earlier this year, in Doha and Miami. Djokovic leads their rivalry 7-3.
"He's been definitely playing some very, very high-quality tennis in this tournament. He has won twice against me so far this year. That's certainly going to give him confidence coming into the match," Djokovic said. "Obviously playing on grass, it's different. [It is the] semi-finals of Grand Slam, [so I am] going to try to use my experience in being in these kinds of matches, get myself tactically prepared. Hopefully I can execute everything I intend to do."
Djokovic appeared in for a battle when Goffin broke for 4-3 in the opening set, striking the ball cleanly to make the Serbian uncomfortable in early baseline rallies.
The Belgian took a 30/0 lead on his serve in the next game, and hit a curling slice out wide, which upon review missed by just centimetres. Goffin then double faulted and on the next point missed an inside-in forehand long to let slip his momentum. Djokovic broke back with a forehand drop volley winner and never looked back from there.
"I was playing well. I had the break. Then he played well," Goffin said. "The game was 30/0. Maybe the double fault, that's the only point I maybe should have done better. It was really high level. It was tough to stay with him. I made everything right from the start. As soon as he was a break down, he came back to 4-All... everything was a little bit deeper, a little bit better. He served a little bit better, as well. A lot of first serves. It was tough after that. There was always some rallies, but at the end he was on top of everything."
Djokovic was unable to gain much advantage with his first serve in the opening set, winning only 63 per cent of points on his first delivery in the first set. But the rest of the way, the top seed won 88 per cent of his first serve points en route to taking a 6-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Goffin.
While in the early going Goffin was attacking Djokovic's forehand well and hitting clean passing shots whenever he was able to draw the Serbian in, Djokovic slowly brought the match onto his racquet, playing controlled, attacking tennis and changing directions down the line seemingly at will, especially off the backhand side. During his 10-game winning stretch, the 32-year-old consistently placed his returns within just feet of the baseline, keeping Goffin on the back foot.
"You have to play the perfect point to win it against him. Then he's returning in your feet all the time. You know how the grass is, just in front of the line, it's so tough, it's really fast. He puts you under pressure all the time," Goffin said. "Even if you play well, it's not enough because he continues to play deep, deep, close from the line, left, right. Amazing backhand down the line, as well. He was everywhere."
Did You Know?
Djokovic has now won 70 matches at Wimbledon (70-10), becoming just the fourth man in the Open Era to reach the 70-win mark at the grass-court Grand Slam, joining Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker.