Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 June 2020

Novak Djokovic overcomes David Goffin to reach Japan Open final

World No 1 will face unseeded John Millman, who reached his first ATP 500 final with a straight-sets victory over Reilly Opelka

Novak Djokovic hits a return against David Goffin in their men's singles semi-final match at the Japan Open. AFP
Novak Djokovic hits a return against David Goffin in their men's singles semi-final match at the Japan Open. AFP

World No 1 Novak Djokovic set up a championship match against unseeded John Millman after overcoming David Goffin 6-3, 6-4 in his Japan Open semi-final.

Millman earlier advanced to his first ATP 500 final with a straight-sets win over Reilly Opelka at the Japan Open. The 30-year-old Australian posted a 6-3, 7-6 victory over the American in just under 90 minutes in Tokyo.

Djokovic defeated 2017 Tokyo champion and third seed Goffin in one hour and 29 minutes on Saturday to reach his fifth Tour final of 2019.

It has been a clean run through the draw for Djokovic, who has not dropped a set through four matches.

Djokovic, 32, broke the third seed in his first return game, a lead that he would not relinquish. The 16-time grand slam champion wasted little time in the second set, either, with a sprint to the net to slide an angled winner past Goffin off of a drop shot earning a break to kick off the set.

Goffin fought bravely, but Djokovic kept up the pressure with deep shots and quick footwork to fend off any threat.

"I trained with ninjas before this tournament," Djokovic quipped, when asked about his apparent omnipresence on the court, during a post-match interview in front of cheering Japanese fans.

"This has been a wonderful week for me on and off the court," he said. "Hopefully I will be able to crown this week with a trophy tomorrow."

The Serb won his only previous match against Millman at the 2017 US Open quarter-finals.

World No 80 Millman, who had to qualify for the main draw, broke Opelka’s opening service game to race into a 3-0 lead. He had to stave off a set point in the 10th game of the second set to level at 5-5, before winning the last four points of the subsequent tiebreak to wrap up the win.

“That was a pretty good match. It’s always difficult playing against someone like Reilly, who has got such a massive serve. I was really happy to take the few little chances I had and took care of my own service games pretty well,” Millman said. “Managing to get through to play a final in Tokyo, that’s pretty special for me.

“When he’s got such a big serve and they’re coming down so quick, even if you are leaning towards the right way, it’s still very tough to put that ball back. Really happy, really nice to also get off in straights.”

Updated: October 5, 2019 02:31 PM



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