Novak Djokovic ‘dismantled’ David Goffin’s game to cruise into a ninth Wimbledon semi-final.
The defending champion was an early break down but from there was utterly ruthless, winning 10 games in a row across the three sets in a 6-4 6-0 6-2 victory.
Among male players, only Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors have reached the last four on more occasions, and Djokovic will be a heavy favourite to make a sixth final when he takes on Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday.
For eight games, this was a terrific contest. Goffin, in his first quarter-final at SW19, came out hitting the ball exceptionally cleanly and seemingly determined to take the match to the defending champion.
He secured the first break of serve in the seventh game but was unable to back it up and from there did not win another game until he was 1-0 down in the third set.
Djokovic could not have been happier with his performance, saying: “I’ve been playing my best tennis in this tournament in the last two rounds. Especially today, second set and third set against Goffin, who was in form, I felt like I managed to dismantle his game and find always the right shots.
“I’m very pleased with the performance. This match could have gone a different way. I was a break down. He was the better player for most of the first set.
“But I managed to turn things around. I feel very good on the court; confident, going for the shots, trying to come to the net, as well, be more aggressive, use the short balls. Hopefully the serve also can be consistent because I’m going to need that.”
There were still moments of brilliance from Goffin, such as the tweener lob, returned less successfully by a tweener from his opponent, in the opening game of the second set.
But Djokovic was playing at a level of consistent excellence that Goffin simply could not match.
The 21st seed double-faulted to hand Djokovic yet another break for 3-1 in the third set.
It was all over soon after, and Goffin was left feeling rather battered and bruised.
“It was tough,” he said. “Even if I had game points, he was serving better. Every point is tough. You have to play the perfect point to win it against him.
“Then he’s returning at your feet all the time. He puts you under pressure all the time. Even if you play well, it’s not enough because he continues, continues, to play deep, deep, close to the line, left, right. Amazing backhand down the line, as well. He was everywhere.”