LONDON • Clinical top seed Novak Djokovic crushed Frenchman Richard Gasquet's hopes of a first grand slam final with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-4 victory in their Wimbledon semi-final yesterday.
Gasquet offered fans on a sun-baked Centre Court plenty of "oooh" moments with the stylish single-handed backhand that helped him beat French Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the last eight, but Djokovic was unmoved.
Despite needing treatment on his shoulder during the second set, the defending champion's place in a fourth Wimbledon final never really appeared in jeopardy.
"It was a very good performance considering the occasion. Semi-finals are always tough," said the World No. 1. "The shoulder injury is nothing that worries me, it'll be fine for the next match.
"I'm definitely living the dream being here at Wimbledon. I'm just glad to reach another final. If you look at the names of the legends who've played in the finals of this great event, it's an honour and a privilege to be out there.
"The final for Wimbledon I think is the most-watched tennis match in the world. There's a lot at stake, I will be ready for it."
It looked ominous for 21st seed Gasquet when he lost his opening service game but he hit back immediately with a rasping backhand winner and earned himself a tiebreak. Some untimely groundstroke errors from Gasquet rather gifted Djokovic the breaker 7-2.
Djokovic dominated the second set but offered the Frenchman some hope at 5-4 when he went 0-30 down, only to slam the door shut with some pinpoint serving.
With an inevitability about the outcome, hundreds of fans left their seats at the end of the second set to revive themselves for the blockbuster Andy Murray-Roger Federer semi-final later.
Djokovic did not keep them waiting too long, closing out a 12th win in 13 matches against the gallant Gasquet with a single break of serve in the third set.