Djokovic Seals SF Spot In Tel Aviv

Serbian next plays Safiullin

Novak Djokovic overcame a tough test from Vasek Pospisil on Friday at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open to maintain his perfect record against the Canadian.

In an entertaining quarter-final clash in Israel, the Serbian fended off an attacking bombardment from the lucky loser to advance 7-6(5), 6-3. With his victory, Djokovic has improved to 6-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, having won all 13 sets they have played.

“It was a great, positive win,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “Vasek is one of my best friends on the Tour. We have known each other for many years. It is never easy playing someone you respect so much and like so much, but we are both professionals and wanted to win the match and you can see that.

“I think the level of tennis was really high. Especially towards the end of the first set and the second set. Credit to him for fighting. Great to see him back.”

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The top seed, who is competing in just his second tour-level event since he triumphed at Wimbledon in July, showcased great athleticism to hang in points during the first set. He then hit with consistency in the second set to force the 32-year-old into errors and advance after one hour and 53 minutes.

The 35-year-old is seeking his third tour-level title of the season this week after winning trophies in Rome and Wimbledon. Djokovic will next play Roman Safiullin after the 25-year-old downed Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 6-4, 6-1 in 69 minutes.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Djokovic is 15th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin and, as a current-year Grand Slam champion, will qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals (13-20 November) provided he remains in the Top 20.

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Earlier, Frenchman Constant Lestienne edged fourth-seeded American Maxime Cressy 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(3) to advance to his first tour-level semi-final. The 30-year-old, who is up seven spots to No. 61 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, will next meet Marin Cilic. The Croatian is into his fifth tour-level semi-final of the season after receiving a walkover from Liam Broady at the ATP 250 hard-court event.

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