Djokovic Celebrates Milestone Win, Moves Into Queen's Club SFs
Serbian moves closer to fifth grass-court crown after 800th victory
Novak Djokovic became the 10th player in the Open Era (since 1968) to record 800 match wins on Friday, also earning a place in the semi-finals of the Fever-Tree Championships.
The Serbian wild card and 2008 runner-up worked his way back from an early setback and grew in confidence with his level of play to defeat Adrian Mannarino France 7-5, 6-1 in 79 minutes. It was his third straight grass-court win over Mannarino (also 2016-17 Wimbledon).
Djokovic will meet another Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy, last week's in-form Libema Open finalist (l. to Gasquet), on Saturday. Chardy defeated #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-4. Djokovic leads Chardy 10-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
A backhand slice that lost Djokovic the third game was the very shot he got back on level terms with at 4-4, when he converted his sixth break point chance. Djokovic completed a run of four consecutive games from 2-4 down when Mannarino hit a forehand long to finish the 48-minute first set.
Djokovic stepped up in the fourth game of the second set when he dragged Mannarino, last year’s Turkish Airlines Open Antalya finalist (l. to Sugita), around the court to force a forehand groundstroke error. Djokovic, currently at No. 22 in the ATP Rankings, won 18 of his 24 service points in the second and is now 17-8 on the year.
Djokovic, competing at The Queen’s Club for the first time since 2010, finished as runner-up to Rafael Nadal in the 2008 final. In recent weeks, the 31-year-old has advanced to the semi-finals at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (l. to Nadal) and the Roland Garros quarter-finals (l. to Cecchinato).
His opponent, Chardy is also in good form. The 31-year-old saved all nine break points he faced to advance past Tiafoe, the Delray Beach Open champion. Chardy has now won 12 of his past 13 matches at all levels, including a triumph at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Surbiton, Great Britain, two weeks ago. The Frenchman will have a chance to make his second ATP World Tour final in two weeks. Previously, he had not reached a tour-level championship match since 2009.