Tennis: Djokovic into seventh Wimbledon semi-final

Djokovic gives a thumbs up to Cilic during their Wimbledon quarter-final.
Djokovic gives a thumbs up to Cilic during their Wimbledon quarter-final.REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Defending champion Novak Djokovic surged into his seventh Wimbledon semi-final with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 rout of Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic on Wednesday.

Djokovic, the world No. 1, took just one hour and 49 minutes to book his 27th Grand Slam semi-final appearance and his sixth in a row at the All England Club.

The 28-year-old, who also won Wimbledon in 2011, will play either French Open champion Stan Wawrinka or French 21st seed Richard Gasquet in the last four on Friday as he bids to reach a fourth All England Club final.

Djokovic, an eight-time Grand Slam champion, was in peak form in his quarter-final on Centre Court, hitting 27 winners, making just 12 unforced errors and offering not a single break point to US Open winner Cilic.

"It was a very solid performance after a tough five-set match against Kevin (Anderson) in the fourth round," Djokovic said.

"I didn't know how my body was going to feel. I was hoping I was going to play well and that's what I did. Tactically, I played very well.

"The top players are expected to reach the final stages of these competitions, but still I'm happy to make my way through. Of course I try not to take it for granted."

There were two other significant landmarks for Djokovic, who recorded his 650th tour-level match win and his 50th Wimbledon match.

Djokovic brought an end to Cilic's Wimbledon challenge once again, 12 months after coming from two sets to one down to beat the Croatian in the quarter-finals.

The Serb has now won all 13 of his encounters with Cilic.

Djokovic had been pushed to the limit by the big-serving Anderson in the last 16, coming from two sets down before finally prevailing in a five-set thriller played over two days due to bad light.

But there were no signs of fatigue from the Serb as he broke in the third game and was rarely pushed out of his comfort zone in a routine first set.

Djokovic maintained his vice-like grip in the second set, landing the decisive break in the ninth game.

Cilic had never been past the last eight at the All England Club and Djokovic took the third set to ensure his wait would go on.