LONDON • Four-time champion Novak Djokovic yesterday reached the Wimbledon semi-finals for the ninth time, racking up his 70th career win at the All England Club in the process.
The world No. 1 hit back from a break down in the first set to carve out a commanding 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over 21st seed David Goffin of Belgium.
In a ruthless display, the defending champion won 10 games in a row, reeling off 15 of the last 17 games to secure a place in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the 36th time.
Next up is Spain's 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Guido Pella of Argentina 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and he will have his work cut out against the top seed.
Djokovic, 32, has lost only once at a Slam in the last 12 months and is making his ninth semi-final appearance on Centre Court - only Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer have made more.
"He (Goffin) started well and was dictating play from the baseline," said Djokovic, who has lost only one set and has been broken just five times in five matches.
"Things could have gone a different way 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 (against Hubert Hurkacz). 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."
Matches Novak Djokovic has won at Wimbledon as he improves his record to 70-10. He is the fourth man in the Open era to do so after Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker.
Goffin was on top in the early stages as he sensed the opportunity to become the first Belgian man to make the semi-finals at a Slam since Xavier Malisse at Wimbledon in 2002.
The world No. 23 broke for a 4-3 lead, but 15-time Slam winner Djokovic took the first set and the second in which he allowed his opponent just four points on his serve.
As Djokovic's accuracy improved, particularly his service returns, Goffin's slipped dramatically and he played a horror game to lose serve again to love and slide to 4-0 down, and then quickly 6-0 in the second set.
He then received what all pros must hate - the Centre Court sympathy clap - when he stopped the rot by holding serve for 1-1 in the third set.
But he was going through the motions after that as Djokovic completed the victory in less than two hours.
Goffin's Slam record against top-10 players is dire, with only one win in 13 attempts, but he knows Djokovic well, having won their last meeting, albeit on the clay of Monte Carlo two years ago, after losing the previous five.
However, as one of his regular practice partners, the 28-year-old is also aware of just how ruthless Djokovic can be, as the Serb broke him seven times and won 19 points at the net.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
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