Djokovic Powers Through In Astana

Serbian sets quarter-final clash against Khachanov in Kazakhstan

Novak Djokovic’s good form on indoor hard courts showed no sign of abating Thursday at the Astana Open, where the fourth seed delivered a confident all-around display to cruise past Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 at the ATP 500 event in Kazakhstan.

The Serbian required just 71 minutes to claim victory in his maiden ATP Head2Head clash against the World No. 34 van de Zandschulp, striking the ball just as cleanly as he had in his impressive first-round dismissal of Cristian Garin on Wednesday. Having arrived in Kazakhstan off the back of clinching his 89th tour-level crown in Tel Aviv, Djokovic is now on a six-match winning streak.

Despite the scoreline, van de Zandschulp found some success against the Djokovic serve, carving out one break point opportunity in each set. Yet the Serbian was pleased with the rhythm he found behind his delivery when he needed it most.

“I think my serve worked very well when I needed to get out of the trouble in the first set particularly,” said Djokovic, who has not dropped serve in his past three matches. “There were some 30/30 games, and when I broke his serve for 4-2, I faced a break point and I came in, and he had a look at that passing shot and he missed it. The match is decided in these moments. [Between] 5-2 or 4-3 up there is a big difference, and I served well to end the first set."

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From 1-1 in the second set, Djokovic reeled off five games in a row to clinch his 30th tour-level win of the year in style. The seven-time year-end No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings finished the match having converted four from five break points in a comprehensive victory.

“[In the] second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more," said Djokovic. "Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic is now up to 12th place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin thanks to his two wins so far this week. The five-time Nitto ATP Finals champion needs to finish in the Top 20 in order to secure qualification for November's season finale.

Djokovic has now reached the quarter-final stage in eight of the nine tournaments he has played in 2022. The 35-year-old will meet Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals in Astana after the US Open semi-finalist earlier prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 against ninth seed Marin Cilic.

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