Novak Djokovic continues to make his game synonymous with victory. The Serbian added his 14th consecutive victory in individual tournaments on Friday to climb to the semifinals of the Astana Open, overwhelming Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-3 after one hour and 29 minutes of play.
The former World No. 1 held his own against one of the locker room’s biggest punchers, capable of accelerating the ball in neutral indoor conditions. Djokovic kept control of the match from the order, securing 85% of the points with first serve, moving his opponent in the back of the court.
If Khachanov presented a battle in an open first set, recovering a break to not give up until the last game of the set, Djokovic responded with a level rise. The Serbian signed a flawless second set, advancing to victory without facing a single break point.
“I haven’t played from the back of the court at the level of the first two games, but it was enough,” Djokovic acknowledged after the match. “I managed to play good tennis when it was most needed in both sets”
Khachanov, who has lost the last 20 matches against Top 10 players, has delivered seven of his most recent eight meetings with Djokovic on tour. After crowning the Tel Aviv Watergen Open without surrendering a heat, Djokovic has managed to maintain an impeccable level on the indoor court.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion’s shots continue to fly under cover in Kazakhstan, where he this week attempts to lift his 90th career singles title. “I always have high expectations of myself,” Djokovic said, putting the focus on a constant ability to improve.”
Novak Djokovic won the Tel Aviv Open
Patrick Mouratoglou stated that Novak Djokovic’s single-most important goal was to take the lead over Rafael Nadal in the all-time Grand Slam race. “There is one of the most interesting things in the history of our game that is taking place at the moment, which is this race,” Mouratoglou said in a video on his Instagram page.
“At this stage of his career, Novak has one goal, which is to win as many Grand Slams as possible because he’s into a race with Rafa. He doesn’t have many chances, he has only 2 per year, because at the moment he doesn’t play the Australian Open and the US Open.
So in order to be really efficient in those big tournaments, you need matches, you need to be in the rhythm, and you need to win matches. He’s lacking that for the moment,” he added.