Djokovic joins elite 800-win club with Queen's masterclass
LONDON, United Kingdom – Novak Djokovic joined the 800-win club as the former world number one moved into the Queen's Club semifinals with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Adrian Mannarino on Friday, June 22.
Djokovic took just 78 minutes to crush Mannarino at the Wimbledon warm-up event, in the process becoming the 10th player in the Open era to reach 800 match wins.
The 31-year-old will play France's Jeremy Chardy or American youngster Frances Tiafoe in the last four as he bids for his second Queen's final appearance.
If Djokovic wins the semifinal and goes on to take the Queen's title for the first time, he will pass Stefan Edberg into 9th place on the all-time wins list.
Jimmy Connors is on top of the elite 800-win group with 1,256 wins ahead of second placed Roger Federer, who has 1,156.
Djokovic is through to only his second semifinal of a troubled campaign as he hunts his first title in 2018.
He is a lowly 22nd in the rankings after an embarrassing French Open quarterfinal defeat against Italian journeyman Marco Cecchinato.
Hampered by an elbow injury last year, Djokovic has failed to reach the semifinals in any of his last 5 Grand Slam appearances.
Djokovic hasn't earned a major title since competing his career Grand Slam by winning the 2016 French Open.
Dogged by rumors that he no longer has the motivation to return to the top, the 12-time Grand Slam winner decided to start his bid for a 4th Wimbledon crown by accepting a Queen's wild card.
With Wimbledon starting on July 2, Djokovic is slowly getting back in the groove.
Djokovic had lost just 8 games in his first two Queen's matches, demolishing Grigor Dimitrov in the second round to claim his first win over a top 10 player since May 2017.
A wobbly start against Mannarino could have squandered the momentum from those wins and Djokovic shrieked in frustration when a wayward forehand gifted the world number 26 a break in the 3rd game of the first set.
But Djokovic found his rhythm and converted his 6th break point to level at 4-4.
From 4-2 down, Djokovic had wrestled the initiative from Mannarino and another break secured the first set.
The second set was a procession as Djokovic overwhelmed Mannarino from the baseline with a series of searing winners. – Rappler.com