World number one Novak Djokovic eased past Hubert Hurkacz with a routine 6-3, 6-4 victory on Friday to advance to the Madrid Open semi-finals, as he bids for a fourth title in the Spanish capital.
Djokovic looked much more like his usual self at the Manolo Santana Stadium on a sunny day in Madrid as he continued to work his way back towards top form ahead of the French Open, which begins later this month.
The 34-year-old was given a walkover into the quarter-finals when opponent Andy Murray withdrew from their highly anticipated clash due to illness and the top-seeded Serb got straight down to business against Hurkacz.
Having raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set, Djokovic closed it out in 36 minutes and maintained the pressure in the second. He got the crucial break at 3-2 and triumphed after an hour and 20 minutes.
Djokovic sent down 16 winners while he did not face a break point from Hurkacz, and extended his perfect record against the Pole to 4-0.
“The first set I think we both didn’t play so great, took us both time to adapt to conditions,” Djokovic said. “Second set, I think better quality tennis. I was serving really well. I am pleased with the way I was constructing the point.” Djokovic will face the winner of the match between world number four Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, which takes place later on Friday, for a place in the final.
“They’re the two best players this year, with the results they’ve had,” Djokovic said. “Rafa is playing well, it didn’t seem like anything is bothering him in the last few matches… He’s very close to his best.
“And Carlos as well, I mean he’s living the dream isn’t he? He’s playing amazing tennis and he’s improved so much… It’s going to be a good match.”