Novak Djokovic charged into a record-equalling eighth Western & Southern Open semi-final on Wednesday, beating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-1.
The World No. 1 tied Jimmy Connors, Stefan Edberg, Roger Federer and Bill Talbert’s semi-final totals at the ATP Masters 1000 event after 62 minutes, converting five of nine break points. Djokovic is seeking his second Western & Southern Open trophy after completing the Career Golden Masters at the event in 2018.
Djokovic is now two wins away from creating further history at the tournament. If the 33-year-old lifts the trophy on Friday, he will equal Rafael Nadal’s record haul of 35 Masters 1000 trophies.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion’s unbeaten run now stands at 24 matches, which includes a 21-0 record this season. Djokovic is making his fourth ATP Tour appearance of the year, having lifted titles at the ATP Cup — as part of Team Serbia — the Australian Open and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Djokovic will attempt to reach his seventh Western & Southern Open final when he meets Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals. The Belgrade-native leads Bautista Agut 8-3 in their ATP Head2Head series, but has lost his past three hard-court encounters against the World No. 12.
The 79-time tour-level titlist fired a forehand passing shot winner and capitalised on a series of errors from Struff to break for a 3-1 lead in the first set. Djokovic held serve with confidence throughout the opener and converted his first set point with a powerful forehand down the line.
Djokovic moved up the court and took advantage of multiple double faults from Struff to race to a 5-0 lead. The 2018 champion failed to serve out the match, but claimed a love service break in the following game with a forehand winner to book his semi-final spot.