World no. 1 and the defending champion Novak Djokovic scored the tenth consecutive victory in the quarter-final of Cincinnati, beating Lucas Pouille 7-6, 6-1 in an hour and 26 minutes. Lucas gave his best to stay in touch in the opening set, playing much better than at the Australian Open back in January when Novak destroyed him in no time at all but still going out in straight sets after losing the momentum in set number two.
Novak is through to the 66th Masters 1000 semi-final, matching Roger Federer’s numbers and standing six behind Rafael Nadal who is at the top on 72, hoping to add the 34th Masters 1000 crown to his tally and stay in touch with the Spaniard.
Serving at 71%, Djokovic lost 16 points in ten service games, six of those after double faults, fending off all three break points to mount the pressure on the other side of the net and force Lucas to play at his very best to stay in contention, which couldn’t last for too long.
Novak landed 17 winners and 15 unforced errors while Pouille counted to 18 winners and 22 errors, returning only 70% of Djokovic’s serves and falling short in the quickest and mid-range rallies to propel the Serb into the last four where he will face Daniil Medvedev.
The Frenchman fended off a break point in the very first game of the match and followed Novak’s pace before the tie break with booming serves and well-constructed attacks, unable to do much on the return but keeping his games safe to reach the breaker.
The problem was, Novak would always be the favorite there, proving that again while scoring three mini-breaks for a 7-2 after a beautiful backhand crosscourt winner. As was expected, Djokovic grabbed four straight points on the return in the second game of the second set for a break that sealed Pouille’s fate in this one, repelling those three break points in the next game to remain unbroken and delivering another break at 4-1 to move further in front.
Novak sealed the deal on own serve in game seven, taking 12 of the last 14 points to secure the semi-final spot for the seventh time here in Ohio.