Wimbledon | Djokovic settles into semi-final
Defending champion Novak Djokovic cruised into his ninth Wimbledon semi-final and declared: “It’s exactly what I wanted.”
It's exactly what I wanted and hopefully I can go in the right direction in the semis as well. Novak Djokovic
Top seed Djokovic took just under two hours to break down David Goffin 6-4 6-0 6-2., having come from a break down in the opening set to win the next ten games on the trot.
And the Serb threw down a warning that he is hitting form at the right time.
He said: “David started well. he was dictating the play from the baseline, the rallies went his way and he was deservedly in place of leading. New balls came in play, I managed to break him back, Things could have gone a different way, who knows what the match would have looked like if I had lost the first set? But I was very pleased with the second and third.
“I had a tough match in the third round. Other than that, I’ve won in straight sets and played really well throughout the tournament.
“It’s exactly what I wanted and hopefully I can go in the right direction in the semis as well.”
His Belgian opponent, who had never got beyond the last eight of a major, was reeling as Djokovic cranked it up after world No.23 Goffin’s bright opening.
He especially struggled against the 32-year-old’s imperious return, the reason why legend John McEnroe has described Djokovic as the “human backboard”.
McEnroe also had the perfect turn of phrase as Goffin appeared battered and bewildered.
He said: “It is like he has been punched in the stomach but hasn’t got his breath back. These guys (the Big Three including Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal) make it so difficult they make you want to run away and hide. That’s what they do to you.”
The trouble is that on Centre Court at Wimbledon there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas once had it.
Djokovic will face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the final.
Goffin said: “It was tough (during the loss of ten straight games). Even if I had game points, he was serving better, like I said.
Every point is tough. 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 put you under pressure all the time. Even if you play well, it’s not enough because he continue, continue, to play deep, deep, close from the line, left, right. Amazing backhand down the line, as well.
“He was everywhere It’s tough when he’s playing like this. Especially today for me, those conditions, he’s the world No. 1, so that’s why it’s really tough to play against him.”