Relentless Djokovic beats Pouille
to reach semi-finals
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[August 17, 2019]
(Reuters) - Novak Djokovic wore
down Lucas Pouille after an even first set, dispatching the
Frenchman 7-6(2) 6-1 in a Cincinnati Masters quarter-final in Ohio
The match was much closer than when the pair met in the Australian
Open semi-finals in January, when Djokovic conceded only four games
before going on to win the title.
It took Djokovic nearly an hour to prevail in the first set but he
closed out a one-sided tiebreak with a deft backhand passing shot.
The second was one-way traffic as the world number one played with
relentless efficiency against an opponent who ran out of answers.
Perhaps the only concern for Djokovic with the U.S. Open looming in
less than two weeks was a sore elbow which required brief treatment
by his trainer late in the match.
"I managed to finish the match, had a little bit of tightness in my
elbow but hopefully everything will be fine for tomorrow," Djokovic
said in an on-court interview.
He will have less than 24 hours to recover for a semi-final against
Daniil Medvedev, who continued his recent hot form, ousting Russian
compatriot Andrey Rublev 6-2 6-3 in barely an hour.
Medvedev, a career-high eighth in the rankings, faced only one break
He has made two finals in the past two weeks, losing to Nick Kyrgios
in Washington and Rafa Nadal in Montreal.
In other quarter-final action, Frenchman Richard Gasquet continued
his comeback from groin surgery by defeating 11th seeded Spaniard
Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(2) 3-6 6-2.
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Novak Djokovic (SRB) serves against Lucas Pouille (FRA) during the
Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Lindner Family Tennis
Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Gasquet, who defeated Andy Murray in the opening round, set up a
semi-final clash on Saturday with Belgian 16th seed David Goffin.
Goffin advanced when his quarter-final opponent, Japan's Yoshihito
Nishioka, pulled out before their match on Friday due to illness.
Gasquet underwent groin surgery in January and returned to
competition in May.
"I didnít play for six months, so it's great to be back here and
reaching the semi-finals aged 33," Gasquet told ESPN in an on-court
"Goffin is a tough guy, one of the fastest from the baseline, so I
will be prepared to battle and to fight."
(Reporting by Andrew Both and Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North
Carolina; editing by Pritha Sarkar / Ian Ransom)
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